5 Reasons You Should Update Your Google Pixel Phone ASAP

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Mint Pixel 8 display on top of a green notebook.

Max Buondonno/ZDNET

If you own a Pixel phone, you probably know that Google has big plans to start infusing these devices with even more artificial intelligence. Well, the wait is almost over as the next feature drop will include a variety of assistive AI.

Also: The best Google Pixel phones (including the Pixel 8 Pro)

Of course, the feature drop will not only include several new features but also the usual bug fixes and security patches. As my usual advice, apply this update as soon as it becomes available. In this day of constant cyber security attacks you don’t want to fall behind on your security patches, otherwise, your data could end up in the wrong hands.

But what about those new features?

Taking your temperature

The Pixel line of phones already got a thermometer app to go with Android 14. However, you don’t have the ability to take your own temperature from that app. You can measure food and organic materials, beverages and water, cast iron, ceramic and glass, metal, plastic and rubber, fabric, wood, and walls and windows.

Also: How to use the Pixel 8 Pro thermometer to get an accurate temperature reading

But there was no alternative to measuring human temperature. With the new feature drop, you’ll be able to select this option and, using your phone, scan your forehead (or someone else’s forehead) to get an accurate reading. This update will allow you to save results to your Fitbit profile for a deeper understanding of your health.

Circle to search

The new feature drop will include a simple, AI-powered search method that lets you simply draw a circle around an image, text or video, and Google will then automatically run a search for it. This means you don’t have to switch between apps to run a search or even bother typing to use Google Search.

Also: Google’s Smart Search is now showing up on more Android phones


For those who like to respond with emoji, this new update lets you convert your favorite photos into reactions that can be used in Messages and other apps. This feature is powered by AI on the device, so it should work both quickly and seamlessly.

Magic Compose

Google Messages is getting a big AI bump with Magic Compose. This is where the AI ​​rubber really meets the road: Google wants to help you create responses to your messages, courtesy of generative AI. The idea behind this is to add a “spark of personality” to your conversation. Magic Compose will offer suggested responses based on the context of your messages and will even convert what you write into different styles (even Shakespeare).

Magic Compose rolled out as a beta last year and is already available if you join Message Beta Program. How it works is simple: type your message and then tap the pen icon Select the style you want to use for your message and then select the option you want to send. I tried it and it’s pretty fun.

Magic Compose feature in Google Messages.

Testing the Magic Compose feature in the beta version of Messages with some Billy Shakes.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZdNet

New Pixel 8 colorways

If you haven’t already bought a Pixel 8 phone, Google will release a new mint colorway for both Pixel 8 And Pixel 8 Pro.

Also: Why Google’s cheap Pixel 8 is the real star of its Android phone lineup

Upcoming feature drops should happen anytime soon. Be on the lookout for it and be sure to apply as soon as it appears. Even if these new features don’t excite you, you’ll at least get the latest security patches and app updates.

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