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Google Tensor: The brains behind Pixel phones.
Designed by Google, the chip helps artificial intelligence understand you, take better pictures, and so much more.

Google Tensor, the custom-built chip that’s the power behind Google AI on Pixel phones, was years in the making.

And now it’s pushing the boundaries of helpfulness in a smartphone. Tensor enables high-quality photos and video, powerful security and performance, and more intelligent speech recognition that make Pixel more personal and helpful than ever before. And it allows Pixel to adapt to you, accommodating the different ways we use our phones.

But this secret ingredient of Pixel phones – what makes them more powerful and helpful1 – didn’t happen overnight. 

A few years ago, Google’s researchers came together across hardware, software, and machine learning to build the best mobile computer chip. It had to realize a vision of what should be possible on Pixel smartphones. The result was Tensor.

While all the best smartphones come equipped with powerful processors, Tensor stands out because it’s focused on delivering complex artificial intelligence and machine learning processes on the phone itself, essentially bringing the power of cloud computing to your smartphone. And because these algorithms run on device rather than through a network and server, they work fast.2

There’s more good news: Tensor keeps getting better. Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are equipped with Google Tensor G3, Google’s fastest, most efficient, and most secure chip yet. Every major component of the chip has been upgraded for enhanced performance and efficiency. Not only has the number of machine learning models on device more than doubled since 2021, but their complexity and sophistication have increased as well. And Tensor is running many of these complex models at the same time. 

That increased sophistication and efficiency unlocks some incredible new capabilities on Pixel 8, giving you cutting-edge photo and video features and new, smarter ways to get things done throughout your day.

AI and ML capabilities like these are becoming “more and more prominent and integrated into our daily lives,” says Nesra Yannier, who researches human-computer interactions at Carnegie Mellon University. As people become used to the benefits of personalized, intuitive technologies, she adds, “it’s becoming something they expect and feel is natural in technology products.” 

What is Tensor and how does it make smartphones more helpful?

Tensor is the system-on-chip processor co-designed with the Google Research team. It was conceptualized in 2016 and first integrated on Pixel 6 in 2021. Now Pixel phones use artificial intelligence and machine learning powered by Tensor to perform increasingly advanced tasks, like instantly translating messages and videos3 without internet.2

And Pixel phones get better with time, becoming more personalized and helpful,4 turning them from a one-size-fits-all piece of hardware into a device that’s more helpful for you. Pixel can distinguish a tree from a person in a photo, or understand if the picture is blurry and in need of a touch-up.

Pixel 8 Pro
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What can Google Tensor G3 do for me?

“Your phone needs to understand your world – your context, your unique needs and preferences, how you speak, and what you care about,” said Rick Osterloh, SVP of Google Devices and Services. With Tensor bringing Google AI to Pixel, the phones go a long way toward delivering on that promise:

  • Take better photos and videos – The most visible examples of machine learning in action on your phone can be found in your photos and videos. With Tensor G3’s cutting-edge computational photography and image processing, your phone can now render more dynamic images, capture more details during zoom, and process sharper, higher-quality photos and videos. And it can do this approximately a half-second faster than the previous generation.5

    Pixel phones can detect faces in a shot and adjust the focus and brightness to perfect the exposure. With Real Tone, photos represent the nuances of different skin tones beautifully and authentically. If someone moves, Pixel can fuse multiple shots to remove the blur with Photo Unblur.6 Night Sight combines multiple shots into one frame to optimize for low-light scenery. Magic Eraser on Pixel 8 can remove larger distractions by better predicting backgrounds, creating higher-quality photos. 

    And let’s not forget Best Take7: Get the perfect group photo, every time, by fixing closed eyes, misdirected gazes, facial expressions, and more. Best Take uses Tensor G3 to merge multiple images and help everyone look their best.

  • Have better phone calls – With the help of Tensor G3, Pixel’s Call Screen can now detect and filter out 50% more spam calls (on average) than before.8 And improved Clear Calling gives you high-definition, crystal clear phone calls.9

  • Communicate faster – Machine learning recognizes speech and turns it into text in real time through Live Caption. Tensor G3 also makes real-time language translation possible with Live Translate, either speech-to-text or directly to audio.10

  • Type with your voice – With Pixel 8, you'll be able to speak to Google Assistant more effortlessly. You can speak at your own pace — it even understands pauses and “um”s. Voice typing on Pixel also helps you to type, edit, or send messages with just your voice. Pixel 8 knows what language you're speaking, and can switch back and forth while you talk in multiple languages.11

  • Use your phone longer – Tensor runs more advanced, state-of-the-art ML models but at lower power consumption compared to previous Pixel phones.4

  • Protect your data – There’s a separate core on the Google Tensor chip that’s set apart from the application processor, so sensitive tasks and controls run in an isolated environment, making them even more resilient to attacks. The Tensor Security core works with the Titan M2™ security chip, adding multiple layers to better protect your personal information like texts, photos, sensitive data, and more. And Pixel 8 uses advanced machine learning models to deliver a more secure Face Unlock12 that meets Android’s highest biometric standard class, making it strong enough for banking applications.

  • Get more relevant suggestions – Tensor helps Pixel surface the content you need, when you need it. Simply glance at Pixel’s always-on display to find out when you need to leave for your next appointment, or see what song is playing with Now Playing song detection.

  • Get help when you need it – If Pixel senses that you’ve been in a car accident, car crash detection can help reach 911 when you can’t.13 Pixel uses your device’s location, motion sensors, and ambient audio to detect a possible car crash and contact emergency services if you don’t respond to a prompt.13

  • Take better pictures, even if you’re visually impaired – The helpful Guided Frame feature is better with Pixel 8 too, moving beyond selfie assistance for blind and low-vision users. Guided Frame now works on both the front and rear camera, and now it recognizes elements like pets, food, and people, not just faces. It’s just one of the many helpful features built to make Pixel phones more accessible for more people.

How Google Tensor helps Pixel phones get more helpful over time 

Pixel phones learn the different ways we use our phones so they can provide the right information at the right time. 

For instance, understanding the nuances of human speech is a challenge that’s unique to each person. It means understanding syntax, intent, and the context of your request, and knowing the terms and names that are important to you but potentially uncommon to others. Pixel also can understand your accent and dialect, isolating your voice when there’s background noise, and even hearing you correctly when your mouth is full.

“If these products are invisible and user-friendly and natural, they will become part of the everyday experience,” Yannier says. “That’s how technology should really be.”

Takeaways
Tensor G3 brings Google’s most advanced AI and machine learning to Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 ProMachine learning technology allows Pixel to more accurately recognize speech, translate languages in real time, take better pictures, enhance security, and more Pixel phones get more useful over time as they learn your behaviors and respond to your individual needs
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Enhanced accessibility makes Google Pixel phones better for everyone.
  1. Compared to earlier Pixel phones.

  2. Internet connection required during setup only.

  3. Not available in all languages or countries. Not available on all media or apps. See g.co/pixel/livetranslate for more information.

  4. Compared to earlier Pixel phones. Based on internal CPU benchmark testing on pre-production devices.

  5. Compared to Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Based on internal testing on pre-production devices using default camera mode.

  6. Deblurring may not work on all photos or videos with faces.

  7. Requires Google Photos app.

  8. Compared to earlier version of Call Screen. Based on internal benchmarking data of users using the default level of protection. Enhancement available only in English in the US. See g.co/pixel/callassist for details.

  9. Availability and call quality depends on environment, carrier network conditions, and many other factors. Actual results may vary.

  10. Not available in all languages or countries. Not available on all media or apps. See g.co/pixel/livetranslate for more information. Translation may not be instantaneous.

  11. Assistant features not available in all languages or countries. See g.co/pixel/googleassistant for details.

  12. Requires compatible apps. Biometric class based on the Android Compatibility Definition Document.

  13. Car crash detection may not detect all accidents. High-impact activities may trigger calls to emergency services. This feature is dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas. For country and language availability and more information see g.co/pixel/carcrashdetection.

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