Google rolls out Gemini Nano to the Pixel 8a and a lifesaving feature to the Pixel Watch 2

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Multiple Pixel devices are getting new features as part of Google’s June Feature Drop. Some introduce long-awaited AI tech, while others could potentially save your life. 

Beginning with the former, Gemini Nano is finally on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8a after months of waiting. It’ll be the driving force behind several on-device tools, such as Summarize in Recorder. Thanks to the upgrade, the app can now create “more detailed… summaries” than before. It’ll even include the names of speakers, so you’ll know who’s talking when looking back at the transcript. However, there is an important distinction to make with Gemini Nano on these two Pixel 8 models.

It will only be available as a “developer option”, according to the blog post. This means you’ll have to activate the AI functionality yourself, as it won’t be on by default. Instructions on how to enable Gemini Nano on the Pixel 8 devices can be found on the company’s Pixel Phone Help website. There is more to the drop besides AI, though, as these smartphones are gaining an interesting collection of features. 

The one that caught our eye was Google's letting every Pixel 8 model in the series “display content on a larger screen.” To do so, you’ll need to plug in a USB-C to DisplayPort cable and connect the phone to, say, a computer monitor. 

Additionally, multiple Pixel phones will allow you to perform a “reverse phone number search directly from your call log.” This lets you find out who called you if you don’t recognize the number easily. The tool is rolling out to the Pixel Fold, Pixel 6, and newer models.

Pixel Watch update

Moving on to the Pixel Watch 2, the wearable is gaining Car Crash Detection. Google explains that if you ever get into a bad car accident, the tool activates, causing a timer to appear on the screen. 

If you tap the watch face button, the Pixel Watch 2 will know you’re fine. However, if you don’t respond, the wearable will automatically contact emergency services to assist you. It’ll also inform your emergency contacts and give them your real-time location. 

The last new feature allows users to connect their PayPal account to Google Wallet on the wearable.

Google Pixel Watch 2 update

(Image credit: Google)

The rest of the June drop isn’t anything new. In fact, we saw them first appear during the Spring 2024 update for Google Home last month. We won’t go into deep detail, but they include the introduction of the Google Home Favorites widget to Pixel smartphones, plus simpler smart home controls on your wearable. 

The Pixel Tablet is receiving its own patch, too, in the form of “richer doorbell notifications.” Through this update, homeowners can see who is at their front door via direct video feed from a Nest doorbell. They can, in turn, talk to the other person by sending a Quick Response.

That’s all of the major features shown off in the June drop, although other changes are being rolled out as well. For example, Find My Device now works even if the phone battery is dead.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar's round up of the best Pixel phones for 2024.

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