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Pixel Feature Drop for March is here, bringing Circle to Search for Pixel 7 series

The new Pixel Feature Drop also brings Ultra HDR photo support for Instagram, improved Fast Pair functionality, and more.

Published onMarch 4, 2024

Google Pixel 7 Pro showing a bright homescreen wallpaper on an orange background

Google’s Pixel Feature Drops arrive every quarter and generally bring some nifty additions to Pixel devices. Now, the company has revealed the March Pixel Feature Drop, and there are quite a few new arrivals this time.

This feature drop is scheduled to arrive in the US on March 11 and the rest of the world on March 4. So what should you expect?

Circle to Search comes to Pixel 7 series

Pixel 8 Pro Circle To Search

Google’s Circle to Search feature first arrived on the Galaxy S24 series and Pixel 8 line. Now, the capability is finally available on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

For the uninitiated, Circle to Search allows you to draw a circle around on-screen content to run a Google Search for it. This should be more convenient than taking a screenshot first or heading into Google Lens.

Ultra HDR comes to Instagram

Samsung announced Ultra HDR support for Instagram back at the S24 launch. Thankfully, Google’s new feature drop brings this feature to the Pixel line as well.

Google confirmed that the Pixel 7 series and newer (including the Pixel Fold) can now upload and share Ultra HDR photos to Instagram. This isn’t the only Instagram-related addition, as the feature drop also lets these Pixel phones capture and share 10-bit HDR Reels on the platform. 

A better Call Screen experience

Pixel improved Call Screen 2024

Call Screen is a really cool feature, tasking Google Assistant with vetting callers before you step in to take it. What if the caller on the other end is silent, though? Well, owners of the Pixel 6 and newer can now tap a “hello?” button to prompt the caller to speak.

“Additionally, if you are unable to answer screened calls right away, Google Assistant will let the caller know to wait a bit longer,” the company adds.

Partial screen sharing

We first learned about this nifty screen recording/sharing feature a while back, and the March Pixel Feature Drop is finally making this a reality.

Partial screen recording or sharing allows you to only screen-record or screen-share a specific app. That way, you won’t have any sensitive info from other apps popping up (e.g. chat notifications). Google says this is also beneficial when presenting content in a video call.

This functionality will be available on the Pixel 5a and higher, along with the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet.

Improved Fast Pair

Fast Pair

Google’s Fast Pair standard allows for more seamless Bluetooth pairing across multiple devices, as your accessory syncs to your Google account. This feature is also getting improvements as part of the March Pixel Feature Drop.

More specifically, Google says you’ll now see a “previously used with account” option on the Connected Devices page. This option will let you access and connect to previously paired accessories on your new Pixel device.

Google notes that this Fast Pair addition is coming to the Pixel 5a and newer, the Pixel Tablet, and the Pixel Fold.

Two features for Android at large

Google is also bringing two additions to the wider Android ecosystem, rather than just Pixel devices. For one, there’s the ability to make handwritten annotations to documents in Google Docs (using your finger or stylus). This will be available to devices running Android 8.0 and higher.

The second addition is the Gboard Voice Toolbar for Android tablets. This minimizes the keyboard when you activate voice input, saving screen space in the process.