At its rather lengthy Google I/O 2017 opening keynote, Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android, had a few new features to show off.

After a demonstration of a few new yet intriguing features, Google also announced that the preview of Android O would also be available for users to test and try out at android.com/beta. The developer preview has been out since March.

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While Android will not see a visual overhaul this year, Google today introduced a couple of interesting smaller features, that will be well-received by the Android herd.

Picture-in-picture

Not much of a big deal, picture-in-picture or PIP will soon be a native feature on Android O. Developers will be able to make use of the feature in more ways than one.

Notification Dots

Notification Dots may sound like a minor change. But they are quite interesting. A dot is basically a colour-matched badge that sits at the top right hand corner of an app icon. The Dots gives developers a new way to indicate activity in apps and it kind of works like iOS’ badge notifications. Long-pressing on an app icon with a notification dot will throw up a pop up bubble with the respective notification in it. Just like 3D touch on Apple’s iOS, Android O users will not need to fire up an app to check for notifications. Indeed, a simpler way to check notifications is to simply pull down the notifications tray. Also, Android app developers will have implement the changes in their apps for the same to be visible to users.

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Notification Dots are a new way for app developers to indicate activity in apps.

This is like iOS notifications. You can also long-press app icons to view the app-specific notification. Again, this is like iOS’ 3D Touch implementation.

Autofill

Autofill in apps and forms is now framework for handling form filling. This is supported in apps and not just the browser, so remembering and typing out credit card details and innumerable numbers and addresses should be easier.

Smart Text Selection

A rather interesting yet simple feature was Smart Text Selection. The feature basically uses the power of machine learning to guess what text you want to copy in a given app and make it available to be pasted in another.

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The idea here is to spend less time manually copy and pasting stuff, which users frequently do. You simply tap on one word in an email that shows the address, the system understands that it is an address and instead of the usual copy paste, also shows a shortcut link to Google Maps. Tapping on the Google Maps option, directly copy pastes the auto selected data and will open the location directly in the maps app.

Security

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The team at Google also announced a new feature that uses machine learning to scan apps that are uploaded to the Play Store for added security.

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Add to this Google Play Protect that will scan apps on your device (locally) as well. There will also be a tighter control on background apps.

Speed

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Another feature of Android O is quick boot times. Yes, According to Google, Android O will boots twice as fast as its current operating system. App launch times will also be faster. This has been a common complaint with most Android users as it does take an eternity for Android smartphones to boot up, especially the ones with lesser hardware.

Publish date: May 18, 2017 1:56 am| Modified date: May 18, 2017 1:56 am

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