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Exclusive: This is Google AI, and it's coming to the Pixel 9

Google's implementation of the feature means good news for those concerned with privacy.

Published onJuly 2, 2024

Google Pixels have always been known for their AI smarts. Since the very beginning, Google has put effort into making unique, helpful features, and with the current LLM craze, it’s no surprise that the upcoming Google Pixel 9 series is set to bring even more intricate AI experiences.

Thanks to a source inside Google, Android Authority has learned that Google is planning to introduce a set of new ML features under the branding of “Google AI,” including a feature resembling Microsoft’s controversial Recall.

“Google AI at its best”

Pixel 9 Google AI intro

Google AI will include a mix of new and existing features. Circle to Search is already available on Pixels and even select third-party devices, and Gemini is available on all Android phones.

There are three completely new features, though: the first is Add Me, which claims to ensure everyone’s in a group photo. While we have no extra information about the feature, it sounds like an upgraded version of Best Take, which can not only change the expressions of people in a photo but also merge takes with different people in them. Best Take was first introduced with the Pixel 8 series, and while controversial, it’s still nice to have. Add Me shows Google wants to lean further into the idea that it matters what you’re photographing and not what you actually photographed, and that it thinks AI might be the solution for this problem.

Google is wrapping new and existing features under the Google AI banner for the Pixel 9.

Another new feature is Studio. We believe it’s the same Creative Assistant app we’ve noticed before. The previous references we found reveal the app will integrate into the Pixels’ screenshot editor app, allowing it to create (“remix”) stickers.

The description from the screenshot above makes it seem like the app can do a lot more than just create stickers, though. It could be an all-in-one generative AI image generator, similar to Apple’s Image Playground. It’s worth mentioning that Google has been working on its own image- and even video-generating models for a while. If you want to try them for yourself, ImageFX lets anyone try the Google Imagen 2 model and VideoFX (currently in closed beta) extends the capability to video. It will definitely be interesting to see how Google integrates Studio into other apps.

Last, and perhaps the most interesting feature, is Pixel Screenshots.

Bringing Recall to Android with Pixel Screenshots

Pixel Screenshots is a feature closely resembling Microsoft’s controversial Recall feature. For those of you who have not had internet access for the past month, Recall is a Windows 11 feature that will be exclusive to the new Copilot Plus PCs. It automatically captures everything you’re doing and uses on-device AI to let you quickly find information from whatever you are looking for. However, many people criticized the feature because of the privacy implications, especially after it was revealed that any attacker with access to your machine could read everything stored by the feature, and Microsoft paused the rollout while it irons out these issues.

Google’s take on the feature is different and more privacy-focused: instead of automatically capturing everything you’re doing, it will only work on screenshots you take yourself. When you do that, the app will add a bit of extra metadata to it, like app names, web links, etc. After that, it will be processed by a local AI, presumably the new multimodal version of Gemini Nano, which will let you search for specific screenshots just by their contents, as well as ask a bot questions about them.

Google's Recall-like feature only applies to screenshots you manually capture, making it more secure.

My take on the feature is that it’s definitely a better implementation of the idea than what Microsoft created. While there is a difference in functionality, both of the apps ultimately serve a similar purpose and Google’s implementation doesn’t easily leak sensitive information, at least. It will be interesting to see how it works in practice.

It’s worth mentioning Motorola is also working on its own version of Recall — not much is known at the moment, but it seems it will be similar to Google’s implementation, with no automatic saving of everything on the screen.

What do you think of the new Google AI features coming to the Pixel 9 series? Let us know in the comments.

Will new AI features tempt you to buy a Pixel 9?

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