When Google introduced the Google Pixel 8 Pro earlier this year, the company made it clear that it was much more of an AI phone than a regular Android flagship. Now, Google is leaning more toward that AI future with a pair of new features based on the in-house Gemini Nano model.
To bring Gemini Nano to the Pixel 8 Pro, Google created a new system in Android 14 called Android AI Core. It is Google’s most compact and efficient AI model, running natively on Tensor mobile silicon. On-device operation means all processes happen locally, ensuring there’s less risk of sensitive information being left out of your phone.
Most importantly, you don’t need to be connected to the Internet – or Google’s cloud – for these AI features to work. Talking about features, Gemini Nano offers tricks like advanced text summarization, context-aware smart response, and sophisticated proofreading and grammar-correction tools.
The first Gemini Nano-based feature on the Pixel 8 Pro is a new summary system in the Recorder app for Pixel phones. The app, which already excels at transcription, will now present summaries of audio recordings as quick-to-absorb bullet points. GPT-based tools and apps like ShortWave also offer their take on summarization, but they can’t do so without an Internet connection.
However, for now, the AI summary system in the recorder is limited to the English language. Unfortunately, we don’t know if support for more languages – and older devices – will be added in the future. Interestingly, the app is now capable of transcribing audio in 28 languages.
Next, we have a new smart reply system in the Gboard app. The feature is already live in WhatsApp globally, but more apps will soon add support for this predictive text response feature in Google’s Keyboard app. Conversational awareness is the trick here, and since all processing happens natively, suggestions are instant and privacy is not at risk.
Interestingly, Google is not locking the AI Core to its own silicon. The company says it can take advantage of machine learning engines built on silicon offered by Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung.
This makes a lot of sense, as both MediaTek and Qualcomm now offer top-end, as well as mid-tier processors that support AI models of billions of parameters. Furthermore, the underlying architecture leaves the door open for developers to fine-tune it for their own apps and develop their own custom AI-powered features.
In addition to the AI features built on top of the Gemini Nano model, Google is also improving the photo unblur feature to better recognize pets like cats and dogs. Taking APGE from the Magic Eraser book, Pixel phones get a new Clean feature that can remove visible stains and dirt from scanned documents.
The Google Pixel Fold gets a new dual screen preview mode that lets you deploy the external screen as a viewfinder. The ability to use Pixel phones as high-resolution webcams is also being rolled out widely to users.
Following in Samsung’s footsteps, Google is also bringing a repair mode to Pixels that locks all user data in a secure environment while the device is being fixed. The Pixel 6, and all phones launched thereafter, will now also show relevant quick replies when the Google Assistant is screening a call, giving users a quick way to answer a call with a text without picking up the call.
Thanks to Call Screen, Google is also bringing relevant incoming call alerts to the Pixel Watch. Like the iPhone-Apple Watch synergy, the Pixel Watch can be used to unlock Pixel phones. The first-generation Pixel Watch, following a December feature drop, is now able to sync Do Not Disturb and Bedtime modes with your Pixel smartphone.