Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Google Pixels get AI features on Pixel this week

Searching with AI on your phone arrives on more devices than just the Galaxy S24 series, as Google’s addition launches on last year’s phones.

AI on your phone may not be all that defined in what it can do, but that’s expected to change this year. Samsung kicked off what AI can do to help you with its Galaxy S24 launch only a few weeks ago in January, and there’s good news this week if you own a recent Pixel phone.

At the launch, Google noted that at least one of those Samsung announced features would be coming to other Android devices, and from the beginning of February, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Specifically, owners of the Pixel 8 Pro and the Pixel 8 phones will see an update roll out that integrates the “circle to search” function, using artificial intelligence to let you circle anything on your screen and have it become the basis of a search.

It could be anything. It could be you circling the clothes or accessories while in TikTok, or circling a block of text in an article like this one, or even circling something that has appeared in a game.

Google’s circle searching functionality essentially uses the subject matter you search to fill in the context of what it is you’re looking for, and you can add further context by adding to the query. Circle a pair of sunglasses and ask “are these available in red”, and Google will supply the extra context to the search.

Circle to search reads like an improvement to the speed we search, and could change things.

As could some generative AI in text writing, which is launching across Pixel phones this week, and more than just the Pixel 8.

If you own a Pixel from the Pixel 6, including the Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7a, Pixel 7 Pro, and so on — basically any phone with the name “Pixel” and a number from 6 upwards — you’ll get support to help you rewrite text messages.

Google is apparently using the on-device AI technology in the Pixel 8, but older phones will likely use a web connection to make it happen, with multiple styles that can form from your original text, giving you a bit of playfulness should you need it.

One final addition to the Pixel range has nothing to do with AI, but everything to do with convenience, as the Pixel range gets something like Apple AirDrop.

What used to be called “Nearby Share” is now “Quick Share”, and as the name suggest, it will let you quickly share thing to devices nearby that will work across Android devices, not just Pixel phones, and eventually come to Windows. Handy.

That’s a decent little list of features for an update, and it’s rolling out to devices now, alongside a way to quickly switch sound from Pixel Buds earphones if you have more than one device, something that tends to work well on Apple device with Apple headphones or earphones, as well as a mint green Pixel 8 Pro being released to retail, if you’re into something like that.

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