Google I/O 2018 was mostly focused on improving Google Assistant, Maps and the News app that keeps you abreast and tackles fake news to boot. But a lot of improvements on the Android operating system, the Android P were overlooked as Duplex, the human-like voice too center stage. Note that the Android P is not Fuchsia, something designed to be a universal Operating System of sorts. But it IS predictive and ambitious in many ways. Even as it adapts to you and anticipates what you are likely to do (e.g. Suggested Actions), it also offers tools that allow you to “disconnect”. It can be downloaded not just for Pixel and Nexus but also for flagship phones of Nokia, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, Essential and Sony, among others.
Google claims that Android P, at the forefront of AI and machine-learning, is all about Intelligence, Simplicity, and Well-being. One of the things it tackles is battery life, for which Google partnered with Deep-Minds to improve longevity; something which Apple had an upper hand in the past. Interestingly, this battery “spending” adapts to your own usage patterns. In short, it prioritizes apps which are often used or considered important. It has a 60% success rate in predicting and does so in an energy efficient way. For instance, its feature “App Action” adjusts screen brightness for you, based on your former preferences. Not only is it power-efficient, it second-guesses which app you are about to launch and what action you are likely to take. It has absolutely gone from “Hey, Google” to predicting your next step.
It has also streamlined user interface in an attempt to make your increasingly complex digital life to something simpler and organized. Even searching is no longer overwhelming with so many “hits”. This time with “Slice” the search ferrets back the most relevant to you in the context of what concerns you most from apps installed on your phone. For instance, typing “Lyft” will interactively give you the price it takes to get to work and such – and you don’t have to get out of search into the Lyft app because you can now order your ride from there. Neat, huh?
And if that’s not enough, Android P also has ML Kit, a new set of API that will enable:
- Image labeling
- Text recognition
- Face detection
- Barcode scanning
- Landmark detection and
- Smart reply
What else can it do? Beyond powerful productivity and energy efficiency, Google wants to give you more time by understanding your habits. And the really ambitious part is that it will let you “focus on what matters, switch off, and wind down.” The Android dashboard gives you a mini-analytics on how you are spending your time. Google hopes that this awareness will give you a good idea on how to balance your time – something essential for digital addicts!
Believe it or not, it also attempts to carve personal space for you with the gesture-driven “Shush” that’s essentially a NO DISTURB sign. It’s as easy as turning over your phone, face-down to shut yourself from calls, texts or pings. But it does compromise with starred contacts who are let through even when on Shush mode. And “Wind Down”? It’s something we all need -including you. Your phone calls it a night when you do. And that’s a wrap!