During the keynote, Google at its annual I/O developer conference on Tuesday announced multiple updates coming to its latest Android operating system later this fall. Some of them were already known when they released the first developer preview in March. Here are some of the biggest updates:
1. New System Navigation
If you’re an iPhone X user, this new system navigation should look familiar to you. Now Google is bringing navigation gestures to switch between apps in Android P. Instead of a square icon to bring up the app switcher now you have a pill-shaped button at the very bottom of the screen.
You can swipe up once to get the overview screen of the apps recently used. If you swipe twice or a longer swipe you’ll get the app drawer. To summon Google Assistant, you just press down the pill-shaped button until it launches.
If you download the public beta, the feature is not enabled by default, you’ll have to do it yourself. It’s pretty simple to enable it, just go to your phone Settings > System > Gestures then Turn on the Swipe up on the Home button.
Since it’s a beta version, it may change a little bit until Google releases the final version. It’s worth noting also if you don’t own a Google Pixel phone, it may look different since those manufacturers always like to put their own finish to the software.
2. Digital Wellbeing
It’s hard to believe a company, which almost all its revenue come from advertising, is helping its users to regulate their use of their smartphones. Hopefully, Facebook can follow Google’s lead in that particular matter, but we doubt it.
“Helping people with their digital wellbeing is more important to us than ever,” said Sameer Samat Google vice president of product management.
Digital wellbeing is actually a set of new features: Dashboard, App Timer, Wind down to take on your excessive smartphone usage.
The dashboard pretty much is a summary of how you use your smartphone on a daily basis. What we mean here is how much time you spend in every app, and the cooler part is it will let you set up a timer for how long you want to use a specific app.
Of course, you can go back to the app setting and remove the timer if you really have to use that app. You’ll also be able to see how many notifications that demand your attention and how many times you’ve unlocked your phone etc.
Notifications are a critical part when it comes to regulating how we use our smartphones. And Google is taking that into consideration.
The wind-down feature is for those who use their phones at night. It will automatically switch the display to grayscale and turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode to help you sleep at the time you want. Do Not Disturb mode can be also enabled by flipping your phone facedown on a table.
3. Walking Navigation
This feature is so handy and probably one of the best features of Android P. Anyone who use Google maps to navigate their ways through the city streets will know the struggle to follow this little arrow inside a blue circle.
Google will combine Augmented Reality (AR) and Visual Positioning System (VPS) with the use of your smartphone camera to help you determine which way to go. You only need to point your camera at the street or at any building, and voila multiple giants white arrows will show up at the screen to orient you where to go.
4. Google Assistant
This is a huge milestone for Google and another breakthrough in modern technology. Google’s chief executive officer gave us a demo of Google assistant making an actual phone call to make a haircut appointment.
Google Duplex, is Google’s new technology that enables its assistant to have a real conversation with a human over the phone. Duplex already feels to be on another level, despite Sundar said it’s currently under development.
It makes Siri looks really bad. When this technology is fully developed and implemented Google Assistant once again will clearly confirm its leadership in the world of voice assistants.
Take a listen to the actual phone call:
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