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Pixel 4 gets updated with better video calls, ever-improving face unlock

In early December, Google announced the first “feature drop” for its Pixel 4 phones — a major update that brings several new features and improvements at once. 

Now, the feature drop is rolling out, so let’s see what Pixel phone owners are getting.

One cool new feature is the ability to blur the background of your photos after you’ve taken them, via a handy slider in the photo editing menu. 

Background blur can now be applied to old photos.

Video calls on Duo have also been improved, with auto-framing that keeps your face centered during calls, and a really cool feature that automatically widens the frame if another person joins you in the call. You can also add a slight blur to the background during video calls, which will make that messy office behind you (in my case, an enormous Tool poster) slightly less visible. 

Pixel 4 gets updated with better video calls, ever-improving face unlock

For users in the U.S., Google Assistant will now help automatically screen unknown callers, allowing you to filter out robocalls and get a little bit more info about the caller before you answer. 

Besides these major features, the folks over at XDA Developers have found several undocumented new features as well. These include eSIM support on the Pixel 4, dual-frequency GNSS (meaning better GPS accuracy) and improved face unlock, which now takes new images of your face during every unlock, in order to keep up with your ever-changing look and improve the accuracy of the feature. 

This is reflected in the instructions displayed when you set up the face unlock feature on the Pixel. “Your phone will occasionally use your recent face unlock images to create improved face models,” it says. 

It’s worth noting that the feature drop is rolling out gradually and some users are complaining that they still haven’t received it on their Pixel phone.