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Google Pixel

With the Pixel lineup, Google is trying to prove that Android devices can go head-to-head with the iPhone and Apple’s ecosystem of products. In 2023, Google launched its first Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet. It’s also launching the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro as well as the Pixel Watch 2. The Pixel 7A supports the lineup as a lower-cost option. The Pixel Buds Pro have proven to be capable AirPods Pro competitors, and the Pixel Buds A-Series offer a lower-cost option for wireless earbuds.

The latest Pixel Fold update lets you make any app use the full inner screen.

Google’s new December Pixel software update includes the “experimental” ability to force any app into fullscreen mode on the Pixel Fold or Pixel Tablet — even those that wouldn’t usually support it.

How about that, Instagram? Does this look completely silly? Well, sure. But it works. It’s a fullscreen Instagram app for a tablet. Victory is mine.

I’m certain there are better examples of where this might be useful.

A photo of Instagram running fullscreen on the Pixel Fold.
Instagram doesn’t natively support the Pixel Fold, but now you can force it to.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge
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Google is about to get more transparent about Magic Editor’s creative limits.

Google’s Magic Editor is already capable of mind-bending photo retouching, but occasionally it’ll refuse to do certain edits. When this happens, it displays a vague message about violating Google’s AI terms.

It seems Google will soon be clearer about why Magic Editor sometimes abandons a task. Android Authority spotted strings in the Google Photos app about the tool being unable to manipulate “photos of ID cards, receipts, images with personally identifiable information, human faces, and body parts.”

The site also found clues that Magic Editor could allow custom generative text prompts, giving users even more creative freedom. Because after all, what is a photo?

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Get ready to italicize some old notes in Google Keep.

When Google Keep got the ability to format notes, it only applied to new notes — you couldn’t format pre-update notes. 9to5Google reported today that Google is rolling out the ability to format your older notes as well.

I’m not seeing the feature on my Pixel 6, but the Google Workplace blog says the feature will be dispensed over potentially more than 15 days this month.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to format my old notes.

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Shoot RAW on your Pixel 8 at your own peril.

Google Photos on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro is changing the way it handles RAW files: they’re now stored in the main photos view rather than a separate folder. They’ll be backed up along with your JPEGs, and those big files will eat up your account storage fast. You’ll want to shoot RAW with discretion or turn off automatic backup altogether.

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I remember that differently.

Powerful AI tools are changing how people work and play — and in the future, maybe all our AI editing will leave us with a half-true, picture perfect unreality of our lives.

My colleague Allison Johnson recently wrote about the new AI photo tools coming to the Google Pixel 8 and the philosophical questions surrounding them. Would you use these tools? How far is too far when it comes to optimizing your precious moments?

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Google will make Pixel 8s in India, too.

Google Pixel 8 phones manufactured in India will start to roll out next year. Google’s move is similar to what we’ve seen from Apple, which started producing iPhones there in 2017 as it diversified its production line beyond China. This year, for the first time, it had India-manufactured iPhone 15s for sale at launch.

Google didn’t say how many devices will be built there, but a report last year from The Information said it was soliciting bids from companies to build between 500k and 1 million devices, which could be as much as 20 percent of its estimated total.

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Google Camera is now Pixel Camera on the Google Play store.

9to5Google spotted the renamed camera app, which is exclusive to Pixel phones running Android 14, last night.

Unfortunately, owners of older Pixel phones won’t get new features like Magic Editor or Pro Controls — those are reserved for the newest phones (with Pro Controls a Pixel 8 Pro exclusive).

The Google Pixel 8 is almost the perfect camera for parents

A smart camera app plus processing features like Face Unblur and Best Take make the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro cameras especially good for one particular demographic: parents.

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The original Pixel Watch charges slower now.

The new Pixel Watch 2 charges faster than the original, but after a new firmware update, it now charges much, much faster. Google says the original Pixel Watch will now take 45 minutes to reach 50 percent instead of 30, and 75 minutes to reach 80 percent. You can expect a full charge to take 110 minutes.

Meanwhile, it takes 30 minutes for the Pixel Watch 2 to hit 50 percent, and 75 min for a full charge. In practice, I never needed more than 45-60 minutes. Some folks have been disappointed by the second-gen watch’s switch to pin charging, but to me the faster charging is well worth it.

Google is so leaky, you can even see which Pixel features *didn’t* make the cut.

Did you know the Pixel Watch 2 was going to have UWB? Or that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro would have higher clockspeeds? How about 8K video recording and 480fps slow-mo?

Kamila Wojciechowska and Mishaal Rahman, two of the foremost Android code sleuths, found all of the above and more. Every company’s phones tend to leak these days, but Google is batting some kind of record.

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RIP to the Sphere.

Not the Vegas one... the photo spheres that Google used to let you capture. They’ve been removed as a feature from the latest Pixels.

I’m told by reliable sources that I am the only person who ever used this feature. But I am here to insist: it was a good feature! Photo Spheres were a delightful way to step back into a space and time. I guess we’re back to taking really stretchy panoramas.

Today on The Vergecast: We go deep on Google’s gadget strategy.

Pixel 8 reviews are live! So is the Pixel Watch 2 review! AI and cameras and Fitbit everywhere you look. We talked through them both, and then tried to figure out what to make of the new Chromebook Plus designation. Google gadgets: still here, and getting kind of good. Emphasis on kind of.


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Pixel 8 and 8 Pro review: in Google we trust?

These might just be the Pixel phones we’ve been waiting for, but it all depends on how much trust you’re willing to put into Google.

Watch the Vergecast team debate the Pixel 8, the future of photos, and the price of streaming.

We tried to talk about gadgets, but ended up talking about the ethics of photography and why, as Nilay put it, “the market won’t correct for truth.” When does a photo become... something else? It’s a complicated question for a brand-new phone. We have some thoughts.

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Google’s Pixel phones are doing better these days.

IDC VP Francisco Jeronimo posted this week that Google has sold 37.9 million Pixel phones globally since 2016. 9to5Google did some math concluding that the company sold about 10 million of them in the last 12 months — an improvement over its 2019 best of 7.2 million.

That’s progress, but then again, Apple and Samsung each shipped hundreds of millions of phones last year, so those new Pixel 8 phones have a lot of ground to make up.