Google’s focus on personal health and safety goes even further than Apple
In brief: In light of recent events and ongoing pandemic, Google is focusing on health and safety features for its Pixel phones. New functionality includes improved sleep tracking and the ability to automatically notify emergency contacts in the event you don’t check in. Other updates include improvements to battery life monitoring and Google Assistant integration with the Recorder app.
After the Pixel 4 and 4 XL launched, Google promised intermittent “feature drops” about every three months to add new functionality along with security updates. Google has now released the third feature drop that’s aimed at improving sleep and personal safety along with other helpful niceties.
One of those include improved Adaptive Battery. This feature, initially launched on Android Pie, uses machine learning to predict app usage in order to improve battery life. This new update combines a machine learning model that predicts app usage with one that predicts when you’re likely to plug in your phone. Together, they can anticipate when the phone is likely to run out of juice and apply various power saving methods accordingly.
The Clock app is getting a new bedtime tab that supposedly helps “maintain a consistent sleep schedule.” You’ll be able to fall asleep to various calming sounds from different sources like Spotify or YouTube Music. The app will also notify you about how long you’re awake after bedtime and which apps you were using.
The Personal Safety app will be made available on all Pixel devices with car crash detection coming to the Pixel 3. Google is adding a feature called safety check which lets users schedule check-ins at a certain time. If you fail to check-in, the app will automatically alert your emergency contacts and give them your real-time location via Google Maps. However, it’s important to note that this will not automatically call 911. This will be especially useful for those who like to jog alone.
Finally, Google is adding integration between the Assistant and the Recorder app. You’ll now be able to simply say “Hey Google, start recording” or “Hey Google, show me recordings about dogs”. From personal experience, I can attest to the accuracy of the Recorder app’s transcription.