To keep its phones from steadily getting worse over time, Google plans to roll out bigger updates, called feature drops, to its Pixel devices. The first feature drop, rolling out this month, will bring the latest Call Screen features and improved Duo video calls to the Pixel 4. And even if you have a slightly older Pixel, the feature drop will let you add Portrait Blur to photos you've already taken.
The Pixel 4 will automatically screen robocalls using Call Screen. The feature will silently filter out junk calls. If it's not spam, you'll get a description of who's calling and why, so you can decide whether you want to answer. Because Call Screen works on the device, it won't use Wi-Fi or data.
Google is making a few changes to Duo calls, too. On the Pixel 4, Duo will keep you centered in the video frame as you chat. If another person joins you, the frame will automatically adjust to fit them in. If the connection is spotty, a machine learning model on the Pixel 4 will fill in the gaps, guessing which sound was cut out and filling it in, and to reduce video choppiness, Smooth Display will refresh up to 90 times per second.
Pixel 2, 3 and 4 models will also get a portrait filter in Duo, which will blur the background slightly to make you look sharper. You'll be able to apply a similar filter to photos, too. Whether you just took the picture or snapped it years ago, Pixel owners can now add the Portrait Blur in the Google Photos app.
The features are already rolling out, and they should arrive on Pixel devices in the coming weeks. Google plans to make feature drops a regular occurrence, but we don't know what other changes are in the pipeline.