Free Google VPN, Clear Calling

Google is rolling out the Pixel’s 12th feature drop this December with Android 13 QPR1. It’s available today for Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

It starts with a trio of features for the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. You can now access the Google One VPN free instead of requiring a 2TB or larger subscription. Google “Workspace and certain supervised accounts (including child accounts) are not eligible” while “Devices in India and Singapore are not eligible”. You can enable the VPN through the Google One app.

After some design and sharing tweaks, Recorder is big speaker labels Update is here with support for detecting and tagging multiple speakers. The app used to transcribe all the spoken words in a block of text (since it originally targeted speeches/lectures), but Google will now recognize each one and add line breaks when the speaker changes. Each individual is assigned a number, color and shape to make the recorder experience much easier to analyze. This is also supported on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro (but not the 6a).

Last, Clear calling on the Pixel 7 filters out background noise and enhances voices to hear people in noisy environments. Go to Settings > Sound & Vibration > Clear Calls to enable/disable. This feature does not work with VoIP calls. Google credits Tensor G2 for enabling this feature.

In our experience, it didn’t completely remove the background noise of the freeway, but reduced it to a very low hiss that was easily ignored. Availability depends on “your WiFi and cellular network connection” while “Content from your call will not be sent to Google” on the privacy front.

As teased for I/O, the security settings page is combined with the privacy menu. “security‘ instantly remembers the entire phone status with a button to ‘scan the device’ with Google Play Protect. Colors and maps notify users of important steps to remediate security risks, while providing “timely recommendations to improve your privacy”. Next are drop-down lists for App Security, Device Lock, Google Security Check, Find My Device, and more, which can be expanded to reveal other settings.

More powerful” Pixel Launcher quest You can also find unified app, contact, screenshot, settings, and web results here.

The December curated culture Wallpaper drops (by Morgan Harper Nichols) marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Finally, Google provides an update Spatial Audio. It’s coming this January with the Pixel Buds Pro with head tracking, allowing for immersive surround sound when watching movies and shows. Google says, “You can also turn on spatial audio with wired headphones.”

In another update, Google reiterated that the Pixel Watch’s fall detection is coming in 2023, while the new sunrise/sunset tiles and preferred contacts are currently rolling out. The updated Google Keep app is coming later this month.

Google is also expanding the availability of cough and snore detection on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, while:

  • The grammar checker on Gboard is now available in French (in addition to Spanish and English).
  • Live Translate can now translate text in your messaging apps (both sent and received) into five additional languages: Arabic, Persian, Swedish, Vietnamese and Danish.
  • Transcription of voice messages in Messages now supports Pixel 4a and newer Pixel phones.

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