If Google’s Pixel 4 is your daily driver, good news: It’s now able to screen robocalls — and more. Google announced this morning an update to the Pixel 4’s Call Screen feature in the U.S. that automatically declines calls from unknown parties and filters out detected robocallers before the phone rings, alongside an improved video calling experience on Duo, the rollout of the new Google Assistant to more users, and a zippier software experience made possible by memory usage optimizations.
It’s a part of what Google’s calling feature drops, which will deliver “bigger updates” to Pixel devices with “more helpful and fun features” going forward. The first arrives starting today, with others to follow on a monthly cadence. “Pixel phones have always received monthly updates to improve performance and make your device safe,” wrote Google group product manager Shenaz Zack in a blog post. “Now, [Pixel devices] will also get [more substantial] updates in new … feature drops.”
When the enhanced Call Screen — which works on-device and which doesn’t use Wi-Fi or data — detects a robocall, it automatically hangs up. And when the call is legitimate, it rings a few moments later with helpful context about who’s calling and why.
On the subject of Duo, Google’s cross-platform video chat app, it now auto-frames faces to keep them centered during conversations even as subjects move around. (The camera automatically adjusts if another person joins in-frame.) Plus, playback of calls is smoother than before thanks to a machine learning model that predicts the likely next sound and helps to keep the conversation going with minimum disruptions. As an added bonus, Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 owners in addition to Pixel 4 owners now have a new portrait filter that blurs the background of calls while maintaining lock focus on the foreground.
Those aren’t the only new features for the Pixel 4 headed down the pipeline. Google Maps accuracy is enhanced thanks to “improved on-device computing,” and now, the new Google Assistant is available in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Australia in English. Lastly, Google says that all new Pixel devices will receive an update to memory management that’ll let them proactively compress cached applications so that multiple apps can run at the same time — like games and streaming content — more efficiently.