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You can now take an astrophotography timelapse on your Google Pixel phone

Google Pixel 5
(Image credit: Google / Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash)

UPDATE: Google has released its latest Feature Drop for Google Pixel camera phones. This new update comes packed with some exciting new features – and some updates to hone already existing features too.

As previously reported, users will now be able to capture astrophotography timelapses. However, this feature comes baked into the already-existing astrophotography feature. This means that whenever a user captures an astro photo, the Google Pixel phone will automatically capture a short timelapse of the exposure at the same time, creating a video that users can view alongside the final image.

• Read more: Best camera phone (opens in new tab)

As reported by GSMArena (opens in new tab), Google Pixel users will also have access to the 'Locked Folder' feature as well. This enables users to move sensitive images into a folder that can only be accessed via a passcode or fingerprint. 

Meanwhile, other new features include 'Heads Up', which will automatically pop up to remind you to look up if the phone senses that you're walking. Users will also be able to use Google Assistant to answer or reject phone calls by saying 'Hey Google, Answer/ Reject call'. 

This latest Google Pixel Feature Drop update is currently rolling out now. 

ORIGINAL STORY: It seems that Google is about to release a new astrophotography timelapse functionality to its Google Pixel camera phones, according to a new leak uncovered within Google's own Pixel Tips app code. 

One of the best aspects of Google Pixel phones is that Google regularly releases new 'Feature Drops'. These are Android updates that add new and exclusive features to Google camera phones. 

A team from Xda Developers (opens in new tab) recently uncovered the new 'CameraAstrotimelapse' function when diving into the code of the latest Pixel Tips app. After decompiling the application code, the team discovered a new 'CameraAstrotimelapse' tip that's set to trigger when the Google Camera app is updates to version 8.2.3. 

Google Pixel 3 camera phones and newer already provide an Astrophotography function then enables users to capture images of the stars and Milky Way when their handset is mounted on a tripod. However, this new 'CameraAstrotimelapse' function will go a step further, giving users the ability to capture stunning timelapses of the stars moving across the night sky. 

While shooting an astrophotography timelapse is admittedly not going to be something every user does, it would certainly be an impressive display of Google's technological prowess. 

Until now, astrophotography timelapses have usually been complicated affairs involving large sensor cameras, expensive lenses, star tracker mounts and more. However, if Google has managed to shrink all of this unwieldy kit down into a handy pocket-sized camera phone, then this could be a game-changer. 

This new Feature Drop is planned to land today, so we'll see whether the team at Xda Developers were right soon enough! 

• See also: Best timelapse cameras (opens in new tab)

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With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) and  Digital Photographer (opens in new tab). Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.