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All the Pixel 3 Features Coming to the Pixel 2

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In this guide we’ll go over some of the best new Google Pixel 3 features that are coming to your Pixel and Pixel 2 XL. Google recently unveiled its new phones after months rumors, but what we didn’t see in all the leaks was how great the camera is. Or some of Google’s fancy new AI and machine learning features.

Read: Pixel 3 vs Pixel 3 XL: What to Know Before You Buy

While many of the highlights are exclusive to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, or just aspects of Android Pie, some of the best features will roll out to all other Pixel phones. You don’t need to spend $800-$900 on a Pixel 3 to get these sweet new camera tricks.

  • Call Screen will answer phone calls, transcribe it, and let you decide to join in or hang up
  • Google Duplex brings AI smarts to your phone and makes calls for you (like dinner reservations)
  • Night Sight uses machine learning to take great photos so you’ll never have to use the flash again
  • Playground and AR blends the real world with lifelike characters right on your screen

Google didn’t share a list of every feature older Pixel and Pixel 2 devices will get, or when they’re coming. What we do know though, is that several exciting new features or camera enhancements will arrive via software updates in the coming weeks.

Call Screen & Google Duplex

Earlier this year Google announced Duplex, AI smarts built into the Google Assistant. You surely saw a video of Duplex making phone calls and dinner reservations for you, and it was so amazing it’s almost creepy. And while Duplex is still coming out later this year, another part of Duplex known as Call Screen looks awesome. Check out the video below, then expect to see this on your Pixel 2 in November.

  • Coming to both Pixel and Pixel 2 devices

Get ready for Call Screen to answer phone calls for you, transcribe conversation, and let you know if the call is worth answering or not. You can take over and pick up, hang up, or report the caller as spam.

Even if you do know the number calling, this is a great way to decide if an incoming call and conversation are important enough to answer while you’re busy at work. Then, the full Duplex feature set will roll out city-by-city in November.

Night Sight (Google Camera)

We’ve seen “Night Mode” options on smartphone cameras for years and years, but Google’s new Night Sight promises something even better. No more glowing or red eyes, terrible shadows, and lack of detail. Here’s a photo from Google’s press event comparing its new Night Sight to the iPhone Xs.

  • Coming to both Pixel and Pixel 2 devices

As you can see, the photo still looks like the environment isn’t all that bright, but the difference between the two is incredible. Google went as far as to claim you’ll never need to use a camera flash again. Not on the Pixel 3 or even the older Pixel 2.

Without getting all technical, Night Sight is basically using Google’s advanced machine learning to enhance low-light photographs in subtle yet highly accurate ways. There are likely a few different things at play here, including a very poor iPhone Xs shot on purpose, but we’ll reserve judgment for when the feature actually arrives “in the coming weeks”. We’re assuming the original Pixel will get it too, which is great. Additionally, a new RAW+JPEG option will show up in camera settings.

Playground and Augmented Reality

Google’s new Playground brings some awesome new AR elements to the Pixel phone and camera. In fact, these are an upgrade over the ‘AR stickers’ that many enjoyed last year.

  • Coming to both Pixel and Pixel 2 devices

With Playground, the characters have a natural lifelike feel that’s really impressive. Characters like Iron-Man and the Hulk from Marvel movies, or even Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) can now respond to your actions and facial expressions right on the screen. They’ll even interact with each other.

This is basically AR Stickers on steroids. The Playground characters have appropriate lighting and shadows and look so real it’s quite amazing. There are also new packs for Weather, Pets, Sports, and Signs coming soon. Google Lens is getting better too.

Motion Auto Focus

While it wasn’t mentioned up on stage by Google, the official Google Camera v6.1 has more than Night Sight and a few other things hiding inside. Another new feature likely coming to the Pixel 1, 2, and 3 is Motion Auto Focus.

  • Coming to both Pixel and Pixel 2 devices

Tapping on a subject in the viewfinder will tell the Pixel camera to keep track of the in-motion objects. Whether that’s their own movement or if the person holding the phone moves to adjust or better frame a shot. A white circle will lock-in on the subject. We’re also seeing hints of a new PhotoBooth and Super-Res zoom features, but we’re not sure if they’ll actually come to older Pixel devices. Most likely some of the more advanced features like deoth effects and Super-Res will work on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but not the original Pixel.

Gmail Smart Compose

Another thing we’re expecting on the original Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is Gmail’s new Smart Compose tools. This new feature, like many others, uses Google’s efforts in machine learning to predict what you want, need, or should say while replying or typing an email.

  • Coming to both Pixel and Pixel 2 devices (or should)

Basically, it’s like predictive text for Gmail conversations. It’s available in the all-new Gmail, and we’re expecting it to hit the Pixel 3 first, then eventually older Pixel phones. Not to mention other Android devices in 2019.

Top Shot (Maybe)

Last but not least, we want to talk about the Pixel 3’s best new camera feature — Top Shot. While Google didn’t specifically say up on stage that it’s coming to older devices like the Pixel 2, we have a sneaking suspicion that it will eventually.

Top shot is like Motion Photos or Apple’s Live Photo, but more useful. It’ll take tons of photos in rapid succession, then detect the best photo automatically. Just watch the video below to get blown away by Google’s AI.

The idea here is that Google’s camera uses AI and machine learning to screen out any photos where a subject might have their eyes closed or be making a weird face unintentionally, choosing “smiles instead of sneezes” and offers you the best photo automatically. You don’t have to scroll through the list like the video, it does it for you.

Again, everything in this post will come to your older Pixel devices in the coming weeks or sometime next month, except for Top Shot. That’s one of the few that Google didn’t specifically mention. However, it’s all software-based, so we’re hopeful it’ll arrive at some point down the road. Some of the other features like Group Selfie require new hardware, like dual front cameras, and are exclusive to the Pixel 3.

We’ll update this post as soon as Google starts releasing these exciting features to older Pixel devices.

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