Google improves Pixel 2's photography skills, launches February security update

Google improves Pixel 2's photography skills, launches February security update

Google just announced that it's ready to release a February security update for its Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. Alongside various security related fixes, the update brings some extra goodies, in particular to owners of the Pixel 2 series.  


With the new update, Google says it's enabling the Pixel Visual Core - a dedicated image processing chip that was dormant until now inside the new Pixel phones (unless you've installed a beta build of Android 8.1 Oreo). According to Google, the Pixel Visual Core allows users to take better photos with third party camera apps - including Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and so on. More specifically, photos shot in challenging lighting conditions will have a higher quality, being brighter and clearer - similar to photos taken with Google's own camera app (which uses Pixel HDR+ technology). Zoomed-in photos should also look sharper and more detailed.


Several comparisons between photos taken without (left), and with Pixel Visual Core (right) can be seen below: 

The new software update also enhances icons in the Settings app (on all Pixel models), improves Bluetooth call quality for some headsets (all Pixel models), enhances Wi-Fi uplink performance (Pixel 2 and 2 XL), and improves "battery performance on some Pixel 2 XL devices." A full list of improvements is accessible at the second source link below.


Pixel 2 and 2 XL users who like AR (augmented reality) stickers have something to look forward, too. Google is adding some winter sports AR stickers that can be used freely in photos or videos - as illustrated below.

Google's February update, with all its novelties, should be rolled out over the air to Pixel smartphones in the next few days, and some users might actually get it today.


sources: Google Blog, Google Security Bulletin   

Related phones

Pixel 2
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2700 mAh
Pixel 2 XL
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3520 mAh



1. blingblingthing

Posts: 979; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

Wait a minute, the Camera King just got better?

4. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

BTW PA missed one of the improvements "Pixel Visual Core also runs RAISR, which means zoomed-in shots look sharper and more detailed than ever before." I wonder how effective Rapid and Accurate Image Super-Resolution (RAISR) is in the real world I usually be skeptical, but Google's ML is on another level

6. Boast_Rider

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Umm, not exactly. The google camera already supported this. With this update, Google is opening up the API to third-party apps like instagram, and whatsapp. So the photos taken with those apps will look more like those taken with the camera app itself.

2. mimicryXD

Posts: 175; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

Thats fast anyway, theres smoky leak of xperia xz2 on xperia blog and they say its coming soon! We might see 2 flagship phone xz pro and xz2.

3. gdawilson

Posts: 299; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

My Nexus 5x just got the update

5. dimas

Posts: 3394; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

This is the R&D area that I want Samsung to imitate from Google Pixel. Neural processing units can go away and still make phones useful. IPUs on the hand, can bring more money to manufacturers since most phone users today want to take pictures.

7. uktel3315

Posts: 49; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

like last month, my pixel 2 xl havent received ota update yet. :( im checking every time i unlock my phone.

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