Big Pixel update lets you type to talk during phone calls

Google’s latest feature drop for its Pixel phones boosts Live Caption phone calls so you don’t have to talk. There are also new custom sticker options, YouTube watch party support in Duo, and a night photography mode for Snapchat. Google says the features will roll out on the Pixel 3A to 5A starting today and will be coming to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro later this month.

Google’s Live Caption feature used to be able to convert the audio of incoming phone calls to text, but it’s now being updated to work the other way around, allowing you to type text and have Google’s software read it to you during the phone call. A short GIF released by the company shows how the feature can be accessed from the volume rocker menu and can either type out messages completely or choose from pre-written answers. The previously exclusive Pixel 6 features Direct My Call and Wait Times will also be extended to all Pixel phones that go back to the Pixel 3A.

Live caption for calls in action.
Image: Google

The Pixel’s At a Glance widget, which is designed to display important information directly on the home and lock screens, is also being upgraded to provide more details about the battery life of connected Bluetooth devices (there’s also a separate battery widget if you’re that doesn’t do what you want to rely on at a glance). It now also provides earthquake alerts and reminders to turn off an alarm the day before a vacation. With Google’s Snapshot feature apparently being discontinued, At a Glance looks set to become a spiritual successor.

After launching on the Galaxy S22 earlier this year, Google Duo’s co-watching and live sharing features are also coming to the Pixel. It allows YouTube videos to be viewed with friends via Google Duo and can be shared with other apps. Snapchat is being updated on Pixel devices with support for Night Sight, which should make for better photos in low light, while Gboard will now offer stickers with custom text if your language is set to US English. Interpreter Mode, which is designed to translate face-to-face conversations, now supports Spanish, Italian, and French on Pixel 6 devices.

Finally, existing functions are extended to new languages. Google’s Recorder app can now transcribe Italian and Spanish on Pixel 6 series devices, while extending support for Assistant Quick phrases to be available in Spanish, Italian and French.

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