Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Google Pixel 7 Snow in hand.

June Wan/ZDNET

Google on Monday announced its December Pixel Feature Drop for the Pixel phone lineup and the more recently released Pixel Watch smartwatch. Google releases feature drops, such as this one, on a roughly quarterly basis, bringing new features to its own Pixel hardware. 

When Google announced the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, the company also unveiled that Pixel 7 owners would receive access to its VPN service through Google One for free. The feature wasn’t available at launch, but it’s ready now and arriving in the update. 

Pixel 7 users can turn on the free VPN service to keep their data protected when connected to Wi-Fi on a plane, in a coffee shop or even at a hotel. 

Also: The 4 best Google Pixel phones

Google also added new features to security and privacy settings, allowing you to see the status of your device’s security and, if needed, help you take action. 

One of the more anticipated features (at least for me) is the addition of clear calling for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. When enabled, the voice of the other caller’s voice will be enhanced with reduced background noise, even if they’re in a loud environment. 

Google December Pixel Feature Drop

Google/Screenshots by Jason Cipriani

Another voice-related feature received a fairly big update in the December drop, as well. The Pixel’s Recorder app will now label different speakers in the live transcription feature, making it easier to identify when someone is talking. After the recording is complete, you can name each speaker. 

As for the Pixel Watch, it’s receiving an update as well. This update brings Fitbit’s Sleep Profile feature to the watch, which will break down your sleep patterns and habits, and provide tips to help you improve your sleep quality. 

Review: Google Pixel Watch: Not the Apple Watch of Android (yet)

A new live bloom wallpaper is making its debut on Pixel phones, and there are new tiles on the Pixel Watch to track the sunrise and sunset. There is also the ability to pin up to five favorite contacts on a tile, so you can call or message them. 

If you have a Pixel phone or watch, you can download the update starting today. It’s not currently showing as available on my Pixel 7 Pro, but I’m sure it’ll be there soon. 

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