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The Pixel 9 could let you create your own stickers with generative AI

The number of stickers you'd be able to create with the Pixel 9 would be endless.

Published onJune 18, 2024

Google Pixel 9 wallpapers on Pixel 8 Pro angled
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Google is working on a new app called Creative Assistant that could use generative AI to create custom stickers, among other things.
  • This app could integrate with Google’s Markup to paste custom stickers onto images.
  • Evidence for this app was spotted in Android 15 Beta 3, but the app itself isn’t available yet.

Generative AI is all the rage right now in Silicon Valley, and despite the many issues we’ve seen, it’s being deployed in basically every app and service we use today. Even Apple hopped on the bandwagon, announcing features like Genmoji, which uses generative AI to create custom emojis in iOS 18. Not to be outdone by Apple, Google is working on its own feature that uses generative AI to create custom stickers and possibly emojis as well. The feature might be called Creative Assistant, and it could debut on the upcoming Google Pixel 9 series later this year.

Although the Pixel 9 series won’t debut until October, many details of the four devices in the lineup have already leaked. We’ve seen live photos and renders of the devices as well as the wallpapers that Google made for them. What we haven’t seen much of, though, is information on the new software that Google will introduce on the Pixel 9 series. Apart from the rumors of the device’s new AI assistant named Pixie and an Adaptive Touch feature, we don’t know for sure what other intelligent features Google will debut on the Pixel 9 series. That includes Creative Assistant, which we’re only assuming will debut on the Pixel 9 series, given that it’s the kind of feature that Google would generally reserve for a new device launch.

So what is Creative Assistant, and how do we know it exists? Creative Assistant is a new Android app that looks to be Pixel-exclusive, judging by its package name (a unique identifier for each app installed on an Android device). Its package name is (emphasis mine). It’s referenced in two places: A binary related to the TPU in the Tensor chip and the latest version of the Google Markup app shipped in Android 15 Beta 3.

Even though the full Creative Assistant app itself is missing from Android 15 Beta 3 builds, the references to it in the Google Markup app shed light on a few key details (the Markup app, if you aren’t aware, handles screenshot editing and annotations in some apps like Google Photos). Firstly, the Markup app declares the permission with a protection level of “signature,” meaning only other apps signed with the same certificate can be granted the permission. The Markup app itself requests this permission and queries for the existence of the Creative Assistant app.

Next, code within the Markup app suggests there’ll be a “remix” button in the annotate activity that, when tapped, launches an activity in Creative Assistant. This suggests to me that you’ll be able to create (“remix”) a sticker using generative AI and paste it onto a screenshot or other image you’re editing. The new Creative Assistant app will handle the sticker generation, while Markup is simply the image editing tool through which you’ll access it. It’s possible that this sticker “remix” functionality could also be integrated into the Google Photos app, given that it already integrates Markup.

It’s difficult to know for certain from the available evidence whether the Creative Assistant app will generate images on device, but it being mentioned in the edge TPU app service binary raises the possibility. The Pixel 9 series will feature Google’s next-gen Tensor G4 system on a chip as well as a more powerful version of Gemini Nano. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that it could also feature a mobile-optimized image diffusion model, and given the smaller size and resolution of stickers, I can see it working out. Through Gboard, Google has long offered the ability to play around with stickers and emojis, so Creative Assistant feels like a natural extension to the personalization features that the company already offers on Android.

It’s also unclear whether this feature will be exclusive to the Pixel 9 or if it’ll work on existing Tensor Pixels. The stub for the Creative Assistant app can be found in the Android 15 Beta 3 build for the Pixel 8, which could mean it’ll come to Tensor G3-powered devices as well. Unfortunately, we just don’t know at this time.

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