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Your Google Pixel Watch is now a much better remote for your phone's camera

 Google Pixel watch.
Google Pixel watch.

Google is updating the Camera app on the Pixel Watch giving users the ability to, on their paired Google Pixel Phone, jump between photography and video modes on the fly.

The company made no effort to let people know about the patch as a formal announcement was never made. Not even the official help page on Google’s support website mentions anything. We only know about this after it was discovered by 9To5Google. According to their report, users can access the new Modes section by first opening the Settings menu. Tapping the submenu lets you see what it now holds. In total, there are six individual states ready to be activated at any time.

Night Sight allows you to take pictures in low light. Portrait, as the name states, lets users take photographs in a vertical alignment. Photo is your basic picture-taking mode. Video offers control over when to record footage. Slow Motion is for shooting video in, well, slow motion. Time Lapse, as Google explains it, gives people a way to “record changes that [occur] slowly” like the sun setting.

Fairly basic stuff, but it does introduce a nice level of utility that the Pixel Watch didn’t have before. Before this, you had to open the Camera app on your phone if you wanted to switch between the various modes. The Pixel Watch could only be used to set a timer or swap camera feeds from the front lens to the rear and vice versa. Speaking of the timer, the patch now allows owners to extend the length of said timer from three seconds to 10.

Lingering questions

Because Google didn’t make a proper announcement, we do have several questions; namely, is this update exclusive to Pixel phones? 9To5Google mentions seeing the same modes present on their Pixel Fold, however, they don’t say anything about other Android mobile devices. News site Android Police believes that you will need to own a Pixel phone, but isn’t totally sure.

We reached out to the tech giant asking for clarification on the release: will the Pixel Watch 2 receive the same changes, and if the upgrade will be widely available?

It’s unclear if this is something all units will receive or if is it something exclusive to a select few. It’s presumably the latter because 9To5Google claims the changes began rolling out this past December as part of the Pixel Camera 9.2 patch. The problem was no one knew about it until recently. The launch has been rather confusing, so we’ll update this story as soon as we hear back.

Until then, check out TechRadar's guide on the best smartwatches for 2024.

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