Google's New Pixel Feature Drop Brings Circle to Search, Magic Compose and More

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When the Pixel 8 series was announced last year, Google stated that they were getting away from monthly and quarterly updates for the Pixel line. Instead, security updates and feature drops would come when they are ready. And this is a pretty good example of that, considering the next Feature Drop wasn’t due until March since the last one was in December. Instead, we are getting it in late January.

This feature drop brings four new features, which are going to be very useful features. The first one is a feature we first saw debut on the Galaxy S24 Ultra earlier this month. That’s Circle to Search.


Circle to Search is honestly a very powerful and convenient feature; while working on my review of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, I’ve been using this feature quite a bit, and now it’s almost a habit. It’s just such a good implementation. Essentially, you can now long press on the gesture bar or home button if you are using navigation buttons to open up Circle to Search. Then just circle what you want to search. This works for pictures and text in any app. It’s powered by Google’s Gemini AI model.

Circle to Search is only coming to the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.

More AI features for Pixel, including Magic Compose and Photomoji

This is Google, so you knew there were going to be more AI features in this feature drop. Next up is Magic Compose. This feature is able to craft stylized, suggested responses within the context of your messages. It’s pretty similar to Chat Assist on the Galaxy S24 series, but now it’s on Pixel.

Google is also bringing Photomoji to the Pixel with this update. With Photomoji, you are able to transform your favorite photos into reactions with the help of on-device Google AI. Photomoji will work on Pixel 3a and later.

Finally, Google is making the thermometer on Pixel 8 Pro actually useful. At launch, it really seemed like more of a gimmick since you couldn’t use it to measure your or someone else’s temperature. But now, you can. Google is also making it easy to save your results to your Fitbit profile, so you can keep track of your temperature.

These are all rolling out in the next update, which should start to roll out in the next couple of days.