Google Upgrades the Pixel 7 With Free VPN and Other Features
Google’s Pixel 7 and 7 Pro received several new updates including the free VPN announced the company when it launched the devices in October.
The VPN comes with other perks, such as background noise reduction for phone calls and tags within Google’s Recorder app for who is speaking.
It’s another sign that Google intends to keep using exclusive new software features to try and differentiate its Pixel phones from competing devices. If you don’t own a Pixel 7 or 7 Pro, you need to subscribe to the premium level of Google’s One service to get his VPN. That tier costs $10 per month and also includes 2TB of cloud storage and other extras.
The new software update also brings a feature called Clear Calling, which Google says reduces background noise and improves the speaker’s voice during phone calls. When you transcribe a recording in Google’s Recorder app, you’ll also be able to see labels for each speaker if multiple people are speaking. Like the new VPN, both of these features were previously announced and are exclusive to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.
These additions will also accompany other new features coming to older Pixel devices, such as spatial audio when paired with the company’s Pixel Buds Pro. This feature will be available starting in January for the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in addition to Google’s latest phones. There’s also a new Settings Center for security and privacy tools, available on the Pixel 4A and newer devices, and new wallpapers themed for the International Day of People with Disabilities, which took place on December 3. Those wallpapers will be available for the Pixel 3 and newer devices.
At the same time, Google is also introducing new features for the Pixel Watchlike Fitbit’s Sleep profiles feature, as well as new tiles to show the weather and your contacts. Fall detection, which Google announced during the Pixel Watch launch in October, is coming in 2023.
Google usually releases new features for Pixel phones through “feature drops” that occur about once every few months. Software upgrades like this are especially important for the Pixel 7 line, as they give Google another way to differentiate its new phones from last year’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, in addition to competing Android devices from Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola and others. Although Google introduced a refreshed design, its new Tensor G2 processor and improved cameras on its 2022 phones, the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro are largely incremental upgrades compared to their predecessors.