Pixel Feature Drop goes big on AI photos, adds handy Repair Mode

Google has announced the latest Feature Drop for Pixel Phones, which introduces more AI features to the company’s homegrown handsets.

The key update in the latest quarterly feature from is the arrival of Google’s new Gemini artificial intelligence model on the Pixel 8 Pro handset.

Gemini Nano is the on-device version of the new LLM tech and arrives on the Pixel 8 Pro thanks to the Tensor G3 processor. You’ll notice two expanded features initially: Summarise in Recorder and Smart Reply in Gboard.

You can learn more about the December Feature Drop in the video below and then read on for more.

Gemini power

Google says Gemini Nano powers Summarise in the Recorder app, enabling Pixel 8 Pro owners to “get a summary of your recorded conversations, interviews, presentations and more — even without a network connection.” Therein lie the benefits of the on-device AI rather than the need to consult the crowd.

As for Smart Reply in Gboard, it’s now available to try with WhatsApp and will arrive within more apps next year. Now it’ll suggest “high-quality responses with conversational awareness” Google says.

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AI Video Boost

Elsewhere there are more AI features coming to Pixel 8 Pro, including Video Boost, which promises to “adjust colour, lighting, stabilisation and graininess,” thanks to computational photography models in the cloud.

Google says this results in a more true-to-life looking video and is also compatible with Night Sight and “uses AI to apply noise reduction to videos recorded at night or in low-light conditions so you see rich detail and colour.”

Night Sight has been somewhat of a hallmark of Pixel phones so it’ll be interesting to see what affect Video Boost has. Speaking of Night Sight, it now works with the Timelapse mode on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

Video Boost

More photography goodness

More photography features include a new AI model to balance light and remove shadows in Portrait mode on Google Photos. You can now unblur images of cats and dogs thanks to an enhanced Photo Unblur mode. Finally, Pixel Fold owners will be able to get a Dual Screen Preview when taking photos.

Google Pixel Fold Preview

Best of the rest

Google is adding the ability to use a Pixel 6 (and newer) as a webcam via USB, while there’s a new Clean feature to remove stains from photos of things like receipts for your records. Meanwhile Password Manager will now identify which accounts support passkeys and will help you add them.

Pixel owners will also be able to put their device in Repair Mode, in order to protect your data if it needs to be repaired. Finally, Google Assistant’s Call Screen will now suggest some more contextual replies.

Pixel Watch Unlock mode

Pixel Watch owners will now be able to unlock their Pixel Phone when it’s nearby.