Google is today announcing the next batch of new software features coming to its Pixel smartphones. After adding car-crash detection last year, the company is expanding upon its personal safety features with a new “safety check” tool that’s designed to make sure you’re okay if you’re out somewhere alone or a walk or run, perhaps.
When you enable the feature, you set a time for when you want it to check in. When that time comes, safety check takes over your whole screen and asks for your status. You can dismiss the prompt and say you’re okay, start sharing your location with emergency contacts immediately, or dial 911. If there’s no response within a minute, safety check will automatically notify your emergency contacts and provide your location on Google Maps. There’s no option for it to automatically call 911 likely to prevent false positives.
Adaptive Battery on the Pixel 2 and later can now “predict when your battery will run out and further reduce background activity” to prolong usage. It builds on reducing the power consumption of your rarely used applications.
The Recorder app is now integrated with the new Google Assistant. This allows for commands like:
Hey Google, start recording my meeting
Hey Google, show me recordings about dogs
There is also the ability to save transcripts directly to Google Docs instead of just uploading the .txt file.
Pixel devices are the first to get new Google Clock features focused on helping you sleep. There is a new dedicated “Bedtime” tab where you can be prompted by an alert and calming sounds to start winding down at night. There is a “Recent bedtime activity” feature leveraging Digital Wellbeing that also estimates time spent in bed using sensors on your phone.
The Pixel Stand’s Sunrise Alarms are now integrated into the Google Clock app. Functionality is unchanged with phones not required to be changing to use.