Pixel 7 gets 500MB update, including Clear Calling, lots of bug fixes

Zoom in / Pixel 7 Pro.

Ron Amadeo/Ars Technica

Google is shipping its first big Android patch since Android 13.

The Quarterly Platform Release 1 (QPR1) is out on Pixel phones now, which contains some new features, 77 bug fixes mentioned in a massive support post, 151 Pixel security issues described in the December Pixel security bulletin, and a bunch It is another security patch in the more general Android Security Bulletin. On the Pixel 7, that’s a monstrous 500MB patch.

The Pixel 7 gets an always-on virtual private network (VPN) from Google, just like the VPN service already being offered to subscribers of Google Fi (Google’s cellular service) and Google One (extra Google storage). The feature will run all of your traffic through an encrypted tunnel that connects directly to Google’s servers and could theoretically stop ISPs and other Wi-Fi users from spying on your activity. It’s hard to tell who Google VPN is because, if you’re concerned about privacy, Google is probably near the top of your list of companies to not trust, but it’s here if you want it. For what it’s worth, Google says it only does “minimal logging” and doesn’t track users. To enable the VPN, you will need to install the “Google One” app if it is not already installed on your phone.

The Pixel 7 also became the best phone thanks to its Clear Call feature. Google says that this feature takes the audio of your incoming phone calls and “improves the voice of the other caller and reduces background noise, so you’ll be able to hear them clearly if they’re in a noisy place.” This is a lot like Google Meet’s noise-canceling AI, which is only applied to dusty old cell calls. The feature is exclusive to the Pixel 7, and you’ll have to turn it on manually in Settings -> Sound and vibration -> Scan connection.

VPN and Google Recorder settings with speaker labels.
Zoom in / VPN and Google Recorder settings with speaker labels.

The Google

The journalist’s best friend, Google Recorder, transcribes meetings and interviews into text, instantly giving you a searchable transcript that syncs with the recorded audio. Best of all, it’s stored in the cloud on your Google account at recorder.google.com, which helps ease the fear of losing your voice. With this new update, the recorder can now automatically identify and name each speaker – a remarkable feat. Google Recorder is exclusive to Pixel 6 and later Pixel devices. It might be for a niche audience, but if you need transcription services, this is one of Google’s best, and it’s almost worth the Pixel 6a’s admission price.

As for bug fixes, Android 13 made significant changes to the Bluetooth package, and many of the tweaks seem to be intended to fix compatibility issues with the millions of available devices. The longer section in Google’s post is concerned with the “User Interface” and covers a lot of formatting issues. There are also several fixes for Wi-Fi and cellular networks, which was probably the Pixel 7’s biggest area of ​​complaints.

The update should be rolling out now. If you don’t already have a prompt, go to “Settings -> System -> System update.” Checking it out should make it appear.

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