2016 Pixel Phones On Android 8.1 Gain Pixel 2 features, Including An Updated Pixel Launcher

Google launched a preview of Android 8.1 Oreo last month, which brought some previously Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL exclusive features to the original Google Pixel lineup. With last month’s Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview, a number of new features were introduced to last year’s Pixel users, but there were still a number of differences. Thanks to the latest version of the software, though, the feature list is now on par with that of the Pixel 2.

The Android 8.1 Developer Preview officially brought over many of the Pixel 2’s new features and UI changes — including an updated Pixel Launcher — to the original Made by Google phones. The previous update, features such as At a Glance widget, the Google search bar placed underneath the app dock, and the transparent app drawer were all introduced.

Nonetheless, the newly updated app drawer was missing one crucial feature: unified search. Until now, whenever the search bar in the app drawer was used, it would simply look through the installed apps. But on the Pixel 2, the search bar would integrate with Google’s core search functionality, by returning not only apps but also past search history, results from Google apps such as Google Chrome, Play Music, and even Contacts, as well as web results.

The same updated function was also made available through the new search bar featured at the bottom of the home screen. Google didn’t just limit the changes to the functionality, though, with the new search bar on Pixel 2 devices also featuring a rounded design and the Google “G” logo to the left of the bar.

Fortunately for Pixel users, today’s update fixes these differences and will begin rolling out as part of a server-side update for Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners running Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview. This update isn’t the only one Pixel users can expect, though. Google recently confirmed that both the Pixel and Pixel 2 lineup of smartphones will be receiving support for Google Lens within Google Assistant in the coming weeks.

With the new feature, users of the devices will be able to point their cameras at objects, and the AI-powered algorithm will instantly recognize the objects being shown in order to show the users relevant information.

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