Google Pixel phones get robocall protections, more photo features

The Pixel 4's first "feature drop" will include easier Duo calls and automatic call screening.

The Pixel 4 will get new features in December. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

Your Google Pixel 4 phone is about to get upgraded: While Pixels update monthly with fixes and improvements, Google is rolling out larger updates called Pixel feature drops. The first one, coming this month, will include a new way to capture portrait photos and automatic call screening to fight robocalls, according to a Monday Google blog post.

The new Portrait Blur feature in Google Photos gives you the ability to turn a photo into a portrait after you've already taken it, the post said. With an update to the call screen on Pixel 4 in the US, Google Assistant will automatically screen unknown callers and filter out suspected robocalls before your phone even rings. If it's not a robocall, your phone will ring a few seconds later, with context about who's calling and why. Improved on-device computing will help Google Maps operate faster and with more accuracy. 

The Portrait Blur feature lets you create a portrait after you take a photo.


New Google Duo updates will improve video calls on the Pixel 4, with features like auto-framing (which keeps your face centered during video calls, even if you're moving around), and a machine learning tool that predicts sounds during calls with bad connections to keep the conversation moving smoothly. 

Pixel 2, 3 and 3A will also receive new features, including updates to memory management and access to the Recorder app across all devices, and Live Caption for Pixel 3 and 3A users, the post said. All Pixel users will also be able to apply a portrait filter to their Duo calls. 

To get the new features for your Pixel, update to the latest version of Android and go to the Play Store to download updated apps. 

Now playing: Watch this: Always wait before buying a Pixel phone