Thursday, July 25, 2024

Here’s what Google’s AI features for the Pixel 9 will look like

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Showing the Home Screen on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro aren’t out yet, but there have been plenty of leaks that have given us a preview of its design, features, and specs. One of the latest new bits of information comes from an Android Authority exclusive, revealing that Google is introducing a set of new machine learning (ML) features to the Pixel 9, branded as “Google AI.”

Several of the features already exist on Pixel devices. Notably, Circle to Search is available on Pixel and other Android phones, and Gemini is on all Android phones. However, there are three new features: Add Me, Studio, and Pixel Screenshots.

Google AI on Pixel 9 Android Authority

Add Me is a feature that ensures everyone is in a group photo. There isn’t much additional detail here about what it does or how it functions, but Android Authority speculates that it’s an upgrade to Best Take, which was introduced in the Pixel 8. Best Take lets you change the expressions of people in a photo, and merge takes with different people in them. Presumably, that means you could add someone to a photo who was never there, like a reverse Stalin.

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Studio appears to be the same Creative Assistant app that Android Authority has covered previously. It should integrate into the Pixel screenshot editor app, letting you create stickers and presumably things like custom emojis.

Last but not least, you have Pixel Screenshot, which uncomfortably resembles Microsoft’s controversial Recall feature, though with some additional privacy guardrails. The way Pixel Screenshot works is that, unlike Microsoft Recall, it won’t automatically capture everything you’re doing on the device. Rather, it’ll only process screenshots you’ve taken yourself, adding metadata, including app names, web links, and more. It’ll use local AI (multimodal version of Gemini Nano) to process the screenshots and allow you to search for specific screenshots by their content and ask the AI questions about them.

Pixel screenshots feature Android Authority

This is a much more restrictive use case than Recall, which is expected to be exclusive to Copilot+ PCs. Recall automatically captures everything you’re doing and uses on-device AI to process the information. Microsoft also notably didn’t take many safeguards, with Recall capturing everything, including passwords and banking information, leaving it unsecured for a potential attacker, forcing Microsoft to backpedal.

Google’s version of this may be much more palatable for most users, though it remains to be seen if it’ll roll out the feature to areas outside screenshots, like emails, calls, and texts. It’s worth noting that many companies, including Motorola, may be working on their own version of this behind the scenes, so it’ll likely come to your device sooner or later, even if you don’t pick up the Pixel 9.

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