Google I/O is a fun time of year for someone like me. It can actually be a pretty fun time of year for just about anyone, especially those who are fans of Android OS. Let’s take a look at a few of the newest features you’ll find in Android P, and a couple other things to mention from Google I/O 2018.
You may remember HTC introduced something a few years ago that is similar to this. They tried to “predict” what apps you may use, whether you were at work, at home, or just chillin on the weekend. In Android P however, it will use:
On device machine learning to figure out which apps you’ll use in the next few hours, and which you won’t use until later, if at all today. We’re going beyond predicting which app to launch to predicting which action you want to take. The actions are being predicted based on usage pattern. The phone is adapting, and trying to help me get to my next task quickly.
Once it figures out how you use your apps, I would imagine the system would either sleep or force stop that particular app from running in the background. Seeing how everything is attempting to get more battery efficient, I would like to see this in practice, just to see how much this will actually help your battery last throughout the day.
Dashboard and Unplugging
It looks like Google is doing their best to help people put their phones down and actually interact with others in the real world. To start, the Dashboard will give you some information on how you use your phone. It will show you how much time you spend in apps, how many times you’ve actually unlocked your device, and how many notifications you’ve received.
But wait, there’s more (sorry, had to)! Android P will also let you set App Timers. You can set how long you want to stay on a particular app and it will send you a reminder when it’s time to turn it off. That will be great for limiting those late night Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram binges.
One of my favorite features is called Shush. With this enabled, just turn your phone face down and it will automatically enter Do Not Disturb mode. All notifications and vibrations will be turned off until you turn the phone face up again. This is great if you are meeting with friends and want to actually be present.
Another cool feature is called Wind Down and is set through Google Assistant. You can tell Assistant what time you are planning on going to bed, and when the time comes it will switch on Do Not Disturb and turn the screen to greyscale. This is actually less pleasing to the eye so the theory (and hope) is you will get bored with what you are doing and put your phone down.
Maps is getting a new tab called For You. From the sounds of it, For You will give you updates about neighborhoods you visit the most often. If they are smart, they will give you the option to add neighborhoods at will. This feature will give you news about new places that are going to open and personal recommendations.
The thing that made me smile was when they talked about upgrading walking navigation within Maps. Quick story; back in September, I was in San Diego for a conference. It was my first time in the 619, and my hotel was right across from Petco Park. I decided to take a walk around Gaslamp. Let me back up a bit, I am notoriously horrible with direction. Now add that to the fact that I didn’t know anything about the place I was in, once the sun went down I got completely lost. Maps is adding a sort of AR mode that will work with your camera to help you find your way. Walking around Gaslamp to find a place to have a nice cigar, then walking back to my hotel would have been a lot nicer than calling the Uber that I did.
This isn’t quite as simple as the title makes it sound. This isn’t something the end user will technically have access to – I don’t think anyway. OEM’s will have the ability to use this to make the sound coming out of their phones that much better. There are a lot of features to this but there are a handful of end goals. It can help make that explosion in Fast & Furious 72, that you decided to watch when everyone is asleep, a bit more level with the rest of the audio in the movie. It can make loud, harsh sounds a bit lower, and lower, quiet sounds a bit louder, all without losing the quality of the original audio. The clip below starts with an example of this; it’s a manual process in the video. I would like to see/hear a finished product.
I could be here forever if I went over all the cool things about Google I/O this year. These are just the little bits that stood out to me. Were you able to watch the Keynote? Even better, were you there? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know what you liked the most about Google I/O this year!