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Android P (blog.google)
358 points by alanfranz on May 8, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 306 comments



Very nice. I am especially excited about these features:

> App Timer lets you set time limits on apps, and will nudge you when you’re close to your limit and then gray out the icon to remind you of your goal.

> Wind Down will switch on Night Light when it gets dark, and it will turn on Do Not Disturb and fade the screen to grayscale at your chosen bedtime to help you remember to get to sleep at the time you want.

I actually have a separate device for fun/addictive apps, and my phone's charging spot is not in the bedroom. But these kinds of features will help orders of magnitude more people than my very manual interventions ever will.

I'm glad Google is seeing themselves as on the side of the user here. Rather than enabling the "up and to the right" religion that has a lot of tech companies chasing DAU and UAM metrics by any means necessary.


I hope some of these things make it into iOS at some point too! Especially the greyscale stuff sounds great


These features are on iOS now:

- App Timer is in App Guided Access

- Wind Down is essentially Night Shift + Do not Disturb


Apple is known to shamelessly copy features that work and are consumer friendly- I have no doubt that they'll be keeping a close eye on how consumers respond to these updates.


In this case, though, these seem to be, well, heavily inspired by iOS's Bed Time, Night Shift, and DND features. Mostly showed up in iOS9/10 a couple of years ago. The shameless copying goes both ways ;)


This is ironic given that Android P lifted iPhone X navigation and is adding support for notches, also lifted from the iPhone X.


As a longtime iPhone user, I'm very happy that the competitors copy shamelessly from each other. The more they take the good parts from competition and refine it, the quicker maturity can be improved the board.

We're in the era where basic phone capabilities have stabilized. Aspects of competing offerings converging, because it has become more well-defined what the basics of phone is, and the basics of how it's supposed to behave.

Less "innovation" (trial and error), more copying of basics, and marginal improvements is disappointing to techies, but it's good for almost everyone else.


I don't actually disagree, I just found the statement above somewhat hilarious, given the major changes in Android P.


Of course they will pull ahead of each other somewhat now and then. In the grand scheme of things, they're statistically at the same level of development, and becoming more so over time (when it comes to the software).


Both iPhone X and Android P lifted their gesture navigation from webOS


My parents still use their touchpad.


Essential phone had a notch before the iPhone X :)


and iPhone X navigation is eerily similar to WebOS' cards paradigm. Everyone copies everyone.


That's not ironic, it's just something else that is true.


I don't know if notches are the best example. If Google has been keeping track of display technology, and I have no reason to doubt that they haven't, they had probably saw this coming miles away and had been preparing. Sure, it's not all open and public information, but Google has enough clout and HW ongoings to warrant meetings with display manufacturers regularly. Thus it's not a case of copying, but rather how product lifecycles and price points line up with the development cycle of the technology.


uuh, i'd applaud them for copying working features?

why should they be ashamed to add a useful feature that somebody else pioneered?

you as a consumer only stand to benefit after all. though i'm not a user of apple devices, i see absolutely not fault in that.


He forgot to add that after copying, they also claim it is theirs.


I wonder how many of these features could be implemented (far sooner) if a universal UI scripting language was available for users...


You know, I'm pretty sure anyone could have built these apps on Android

You can overwrite the screen in Android. You can replace the home screen in Android. You can scrape running apps in Android. There's a high degree of flexibility

Unfortunately this is probably one of those problems where the cost of building the app is relatively high (because the domain is complicated to get right!) and it would be hard to make too much money on this


CF.lumen can do this on rooted devices. I have it set up to apply a gradually-increasing f.lux-like effect as the day turns to night, and then switch to a red-channel-only color mode past midnight.


Twilight app can do the color shift without root.


It's not a proper color shift. It can, say, overlay the screen with orange, but can't reduce blue.


Hmm I think I get the difference, but can you accomplish the same thing overlaying with orange + lowering brightness?


Building an app is way too much barrier to entry... What I wish is something like, right-click or swipe down to open console, enter some script (or copy-paste/import a highly starred from a public repository), close console, ta-da. If the API was flexible enough, the scripts would mostly be short and obviously non-exploiting (i.e. a script for graying-out the screen shouldn't use the internet API) so they would be very easy to review, modify, and manage otherwise.


A few steps further you will invent something like Emacs. Or maybe Atom. Or browser extensions.

BTW do you remember why making a browser extension is a bit involved, and publishing, even more so? Trusting someone else's code. Copy -pasting it from a message board may end up in a problem.


That sounds more like a sandboxing/permissions problem... Also, it doesn't help that JavaScript is a terrible language.


https://github.com/damonkohler/sl4a has been around in one form or another for a decade or so.

It looks dead in that repository though.


http://www.qpython.org/ seems pretty well.


Hmm for this specific case I think that there might be a lot of of edge cases, just a gut feeling

But I would totally be for some much simpler packaging scheme for native apps/"scripts". It's kinda insane how much money is going into Android from Google but all the dev tools are basically just Java stuff. I really wonder what Android could be if a more lisp-y approach existed as well


it's hard less because of Android and more because you have to support hacked up vendor distros of Android if you want to see any adoption, looking at you Samshit Touchwang


There's Twilight but it's not exactly the same.


Not sure about the first example, but the second one can be done through automation apps like tasker: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.dinglisch....


How would such a language define which UI elements to operate on?


Some sort of sensible API I guess... Or something automatically generated, like Excel macros, that you can then inspect, understand and modify... If it came with "infinite" undo and some sort of playground/sandbox, people could literally experiment with very low cost.


your comment reminded me of a terrific article I came across a couple years ago, was thinking "ethical apps"... but that's not it... searched for hippocratic oath software, oh yeah -- Tristan Harris (ex-Googler) and "Time Well Spent" and Humane Tech https://humanetech.com/

(ironic that the website renders poorly on my iPhone given the mission and creds of its founder, but I digress)

The article I first read was https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/11/the-bin...

Recommended reading.


I don't particularly care about the release cycle, but somehow they manage to add small features every iteration that attract me. Those sound pretty compelling.

The Treble project is pretty darn exciting too, if only I had such a phone.


help you remember to get to sleep at the time you want

On one side I think this is great, on the other side: I'm not sure what to think of needing to be reminded when to go to sleep. It seems kind of wrong if one needs to be actively reminded of something as simple and straightforward as that.


It really depends on your lifestyle.

I think i have a very healty sleep system where i basicially follow no rules. I sleep when I really get tired and wake/stay up when i want.

My last sleep cycle was 11 1/2 hours, because a day before i only got like 90minutes (thats not common for me, but happens - usually i sleep more like 6 hours).

That only works if you dont have a fixed day time job.

Especially when i have appointments i sometimes really need to plan ahead and go to bed earlier so a reminder works.


Just a reminder that research basically found that “catch up on sleep” doesn’t really work. Bodies are astonishing machines, capable of adapting to the most extreme conditions, but they do work better when they can repeat the same routines day after day.

As a fellow 6-hour-sleeper, I think modern society makes it a bit hard for people like me. The reality is that my body wants to sleep in 3-hour cycles, and doesn’t really appreciate doing three cycles in a row, but it still wants to sleep about 8 or 9 hours out of 24. That would work fine in past ages: wake up early, tend to animals and fields, then have a mid-day nap - at a time when it’s too hot to work anyway (at least where my genes mostly come from). Then get back in the game, do social stuff, and be at peak awareness by dusk / early evening, when the danger of common violence gets higher.

These days, when the dominant culture is clearly more “northern” in nature, one is still pushed to be an early riser, but to then do all work and social activity in a continuous chunk, no napping allowed. Because I sleep only 6 hours per night, after a few days I’ll be tired. The only option I have is to go to bed absurdly early, wake up after 6h, do some work in the middle of the night then go back to bed. That’s very antisocial in nature.


It's very interesting that you mention the culture be "northern" in nature.

Mid-day nap culture is still very much alive in really hot countries, where it's practically impossible to work mid-day.


> Just a reminder that research basically found that “catch up on sleep” doesn’t really work

Yeah, i dont do that. I just used to be the case I had a night of less sleep, a stress and eventful day and then a night with a long sleep phase. I dont try to catch up or anything. I just slept this without a break (My Gear sport recorded no interruptions and very few restless phases).


Definitely. We live in very artificial environments.

When I spend a week camping, I don't need to be reminded, because it's really dark and there's been nothing exciting to do for a while. But at home, lights are bright and there are exciting things available at the push of a button. (Thanks to push notifications from things like the news and social media plus autoplay from video providers, they're often available without pushing a button at all.)

A few years back I build an automated lighting system that is sort of like Night Mode for my house: https://github.com/wpietri/sunrise

I thought the valuable part would be waking up early without the stress of an alarm. But actually the best part has been the auto-dimming in the evening. My brain get the hint. Instead of staying up and hacking on something or binge-watching TV, I am very likely to turn in early enough that I now get plenty of sleep.


> remembered

I think you mean "reminded". Sorry, I don't mean to be rude.


Fixed, thanks, and I don't regard pointing out grammatical errors as being rude anyway. I make too many mistakes already.


It's not so much to help you remember. We all know that if I wake up at 7 and I function best on 8 hours of sleep, that I have to be asleep by 11.

But if I'm so engaged as to lose track of time, or simply undisciplined (just one more dose of political outrage/cute animal picture/epic fail schadenfreude on reddit!), the app closing down will help a lot.


I wish the App Timer was like a TV timer, where the TV just turns off after the timer is up. I'd like something that kills a certain app that is running on my phone. It sounds like that isn't what the App Timer will do.

I imagine you would need root on your phone to kill apps from another app.


Am I the only one who doesn't want a phone that arbitrarily changes behavior in opaque and uncontrollable ways? Machine learning is fine for hard tasks like voice recognition, but it really shouldn't be used for things that would otherwise be a few checkboxes. I know the trend nowadays is to assume that users are irredeemably stupid, but this? Seriously?

You can keep this update. I don't want it.


You say that but the reality is its really convenient. I go to a taco place every Thursday and pre-order the tacos for pick up from their app. The app icon is only ever in the suggested list around lunch time on Thursdays. How awesome is that?

Its pointless borrowing trouble. Complain when they screw up, not when you think they can't pull it off.


It's awesome but I prefer muscle memory: after a while I already know when an icon is before it appears so I can open it without searching for it.


And the changes actually impact productivity for those who have muscle memory; it now takes two swipes up from the home screen to get to your list of all apps. They already had one line on the all apps page dedicated to a list of apps they're predicting you'll want. Now they have a second line on that screen dedicated to actions they think you'll want to take.

I hate this change. Of course you can shove more icons on your home screen, but now we're back to iOS where you just puke everything on home with no automatic organization on the first screens you see when you unlock. Its not productive. I already disliked Android's method of searching apps; on iOS, you can pull down, type the first few letters of an app, and its there. On Android, you click the search button, start typing, and it feels like you get lucky if an app appears there, or if it gives you google search results. Its infuriating.

Oh, and the kicker: If your main google account is on G-Suite, its a complete shot in the dark which features are available and which aren't. On my Pixel 2, the default clock+upcoming events widget simply didn't work for the longest time, then one day it just started working with no G-Suite configuration changes.

I really dislike Google's push toward making hardware and services that aren't designed to be tools. I like tools. A tool is simple, having easy to predict input and output, with the ultimate goal of empowering humanity. There are applications of AI that are so powerful and self-contained that it makes sense to deploy it, but then you get the (admittedly really cool) Duplex stuff and its like they aren't even considering the ramifications on both the user and the business if it doesn't work.


>it now takes two swipes up from the home screen to get to your list of all apps.

You can get to the library by continuing to swipe up. You don't need to lift your finger.


But one Thursday I don't pre-order, and I'm actively doing other stuff, maybe outside, phone slippery, need to check something and damn it... clicked on that suggestion, now have to wait to get to what I actually intended.

Just my experience with android.


It took the place of the top row in the full library list. In this scenario you'd just be opening some random app instead of a chance it was the app you probably want to use.


First you condition the phone, then the phone conditions you. The more predictable you become the better the phone works.

Future kids will be totally ok with technology dictating their behavior. "What do you mean I can travel on a weekday? My booking app only shows up on saturdays..."


Or, you know, scroll past the first 4 icons.


You are not alone.

I keep thinking of that famous quote about debugging but in the context of AI: "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it."

I think the writing is on the wall for the way Google has been going on about AI first solutions, but Google has failed to acknowledge it. There was a lot of backlash from Youtube monetization, Youtube kids, censored search results of certain topics. All Google can do is claim they will try to improve "The Algorithm", but at the end of the day they are distancing themselves from having control of their own outputs.

AI allows nice to have features we couldn't have otherwise, but is it ok for all stake holders to have such a feature with the condition that it won't work around 1% of the time, or for 1% of users?


I dislike the idea of an electronic device to change its interaction patterns in non-deterministic ways.


Can you give an example of this behavior, I'm having trouble understanding how to classify this. Thanks.


Simple common example:

I frequently share content to my spouse.

One day, I share content to my parent.

Next day, the order of users in the sharebox has changed, so my parent is in the spot my spouse used to be, so my muscle memory sends my parent a message meant for my spouse.


Plus, this gets a lot worse when that sharing to your parent was a mistake. Now you've got the 'wrong' order of elements in the UI, and every further mis-tap just reinforces the wrongness.


Does that actually happen though? That seems to be a bad algorithm if the one exception becomes the norm after reinforcing the correct action many times.

I use Siri's suggested apps all the time (pulling down spotlight search and they show up there.) Those are based on time/weekdate/location/usage data and are pretty accurate for me.


That sounds deterministic (last used first shown) but also unpleasantly surprising given your particular use patterns.


Everything in this universe, short of quantum nuclear decay and atmospheric noise, is deterministic. AI is deterministic; we just often don't understand why the outputs it gives arise from the inputs.

Similarly, a FIFO system for a share sheet is definitely deterministic, but that is immaterial to the question of whether it is predictable by its users. And that's what matters.


Sure. And I'd say that for some other use patterns FIFO quickly becomes acceptably predictable, though not maximally. The tradeoff is that pressure to manually edit the list is greatly reduced. Which is also something that matters.

My personal preference is for rock-solid spatial consistency plus manual fiddling, but I doubt that'd be best for the greatest number of people.


Which one of this do you have a problem with? Everything shown here is optional. Adaptive brightness can be opted out. Adaptive battery, wind down and App Timer are all opt-in. So what's the problem? There's no need to have a tantrum just because they are giving features that other people need. No one is forcing you to use any of them.


I think Google's goal here is to make your phone a personal assistant, similar to a human personal assistant. And humans arbitrarily change their behaviour in opaque and uncontrollable ways. Hopefully your phone won't change it's behaviour because it had a rough night last night, but it looks like it's going to take a guess at what you want, and learn if it gets it wrong.

If you don't want this, maybe you'll get the option to switch off that feature, or you can use one of the community builds of Android, and make sure you buy phones that are supported by them.


Android is focusing more and more on this mode of operation, with Google essentially taking over your life. (Even if you think I’m expressing it too strongly, you can’t deny that Google and the likes are deliberately encroaching on personal life more and more.)

With most phones, it gets harder and harder to turn these features off. The Google app, for example, typically can’t be disabled, and to get as close as possible to that you’ll need to install a different launcher, which preference may not even persist across reboots; and even if you succeed, it may have latched onto things like long press on the home button. And good luck on pulling all of Google’s tentacles out of everything.

Community builds of Android are not in the slightest bit user-friendly (e.g. hard to install, and probably don’t get you access to the Play Store where all the apps are). Unless you’re technically very competent, they’re basically not a feasible option.

This is why I’m sad at the failure of Firefox OS and a few other similar efforts—even Windows Phone, for all that Microsoft is heading the same general direction.


The problem is: Your phone will not get security updates if you don't accept the latest Android release. So your choice, really, is to either accept the update or get a phone running a different OS.


Android phones don’t tend to get security updates anyway.


If you have the option to update to Android P and choose not to, you definitely miss out on the security updates in Android P, and possible updates to Android P afterwards.

The fact that many Android phones don't receive security updates is not relevant here.


Yes, thank you! I absolutely despise when computer systems acts like it knows better.

It's the reason why I choose LaTex over Word, Unix over Windows AND Android over iOS


They've pretty much reached the point where they need to bang their heads to figure out something exciting sounding to add with each OS update. Because of how smart phone OSes developed people now expect a yearly update with some big change or new feature when they should just focus on security and stability at this point.


No, you're not the only one. It's so easy to search for the answer to almost any question about your phone (how do I keep the screen from blanking? How do I set a timer? How do I install a widget (and what's a widget)? Etc. My wife tends to ask me these types of questions and I keep telling her that probably 20 million other people have asked the exact same question so google it. She's finally getting it. I think people can learn over time, and it's probably better to let them have a learning curve and become mini-experts in using their phones, without adding some kind of behind-the-scenes shifting of behavior that will perversely make things even more complex and confusing.


[flagged]


That breaks the site guidelines, which ask:

"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize."

It also crosses into personal attack. Could you please read and follow https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html when commenting here?


Lots of slick UI stuff, but no meaningful updates to things that are well overdue: - Encryption of specific secrets for each app. - Fine grained control of what information is shared with apps. - Ability to selectively deny particular data (and have the app keep working, e.g by giving it an empty contacts list, fake phone ID, etc). - Ad and js blocking capable browser.

Why should installing e.g. the facebook app, allow it to track my position at all times? Just freaky.


Doesn't Android pretty much have all that already?

> Encryption of specific secrets for each app

Not sure what you mean by this, but apps are already sandboxed and can't access each other's data. What specific threat are you trying to protect against?

> Fine grained control of what information is shared with apps

Already exists.

> Ability to selectively deny particular data (and have the app keep working, e.g by giving it an empty contacts list, fake phone ID, etc)

Already exists. Not with fake data though; you just deny the permission and the app has to deal with it.

> Ad and js blocking capable browser

There already are _several_ browsers on Android that do that. Unless you mean you want it in Chrome specifically?

> Why should installing e.g. the facebook app, allow it to track my position at all times?

It doesn't. That only occurs when you grant it the location permission.


Fine grained permission does not exist on Android. Bunch of permissions are grouped together* and the app gets all if I allow it.

This is the main reason I root my phone and use XPrivacy. After using XPrivacy, Android permission seems stupid. I can't go back to that.

* Bunch of permissions are grouped together into CATEGORIES and the app gets all if I allow that category.


Fine grained permissions do exist, your phone is simply not being updated to that version.

You can update permissions on types of notifications, location, storage, contacts etc. all independently of each other. O is great for that and I assume P will only be better.


There is not fine grained permissions. There is something that is better than it used to be, but fine grained is not what I'd call it. For instance, I believe the following should be possible for photos alone.

* Give an app access to only save, not read my photos * Give an app ability to read one specific photo (think upload a photo to facebook) * Take pictures without always having access to the camera.

That is fine grained.


All of those options exists and are implemented - apps can invoke OS photo picker which exposes a single photo. Apps can store photos to storage without requesting read access to other directories. Apps can request a photo intent which opens camera without exposing anything to them.

You just choose to use apps which instead request you give them permissions to whole photo storage.


That is by definition not fine grained permissions that I'm in control of. Of course apps can do that. But we know that will never be the default way of doing it. I want the OS to be in charge, not only asking the developers to play along nicely, because they will go where the money is.

Saying that I can just choose to use apps that do it "the right way" is the same as saying "you can just not use a smart phone". I can see the value in smart phones and in popular apps. What I'm asking for it a pragmatic choice where the OS puts me in charge, because it's not working to just ask the developers to play nicely.


I believe the API for that actually exists, it's just that no app uses it because the UI/UX for that is messy. It's much easier to just requests access to all files.


It does not. You have to explore XPrivacy to know what fine grained looks like. I can not explain. Also Android does not show all the permissions that XPrivacy can.


Location tracking requires specific permission from the user, not as part of installation. I think you're a bit out of date.

https://developer.android.com/distribute/best-practices/deve...


And this is a perfect example of the bait-and-switch: Location now goes through Google's location services, so you're not saying "FindMyKeysApp may use my GPS location", you're saying "FindMyKeysApp AND GOOGLE may use my GPS location."

For most apps (unless I'm wrong?) there's no way to let the app use my location without it going through Google's location services and sending data back to the Borg Cube.


You could use microg, then nothing goes to Google. https://lineage.microg.org – This together with yalp gives you a good experience and keeps you private.


Yeah, I've been on LineageOS since it was CyanogenMod, haven't yet needed Google Play for my (admittedly simplistic) requirements but it's good to know that microg is coming along so nicely in case I get stuck.


go to settings, gps mode, select "always high accuracy"

presto - no google - only actual GPS signals used. But good luck - you'll see just how terrible GPS is indoors and in urban canyons. Without wifi and BLE augmentation it truly sucks.


There's two issues here:

1) Using visible WiFi networks to determine location sends data to Google to use their geolocation database. Your suggestion here does stop this (assuming you meant to DE-select "always high accuracy" and instead select "device only" which uses the GPS without sending any data offboard.)

2) Google pushes the use of Google Play location services API over Android's location services system API. These services don't work unless you grant Google Play Services permission to use your location. Since Google Play Services also needs network access, you effectively have to grant Google access to your location in order to use any location services whatsoever in any application.

It's the second point to which I was referring in my post above.


That is the same with iOS, but iOS doesn't even give you the option of disabling AGPS. Google Location Services' AGPS is anonymized, exactly like iOS's implementation.


I recently switched to iOS for this reason. Yes there are permissions - but Android still periodically activated location services despite my settings.

Googles insistence on capturing as much data as possible about me is just creepy. I disabled voice search, location history, and everything else I could. Switching to DuckDuckGo made a big difference, but still the data gets swallowed up.

I know that Apple is only slightly better - but I’ll take whatever privacy I can get.


Apple doesn't even give you the option of disabling its AGPS implementation, so in that respect, you are worse off.


It was said in another thread, Apple's financial interests align better with their users -- Google keep insisting on stalking their own users. I'm so happy I don't have a Gmail account.


If you enable location just once (e.g. to check in to a location) it has that permission until you laboriously find the control in per app settings, and apps can use your location any time from then on, including in the background.


I think commenter was pointing that an Android app can fetch location even from the background (albeit w/ limits on frequency due to power consumption). It just needs to get that one Location permission from the user.

iOS has a fine-grained permission setting for this - you can decide whether to allow the app to access location or not when it's not in foreground, i.e "While Using the App".


Even on older phones, you can turn location services off, which I do at all times unless I'm actively navigating.


This doesn’t actually help on android as google can still determine location by scanning local WiFi network info.


But it doesn't. Google Location Services is what gives permission to use Google's AGPS service. Meanwhile, on iOS, there is no way to disable that at all.


Denying / delivering fake data is #1 on my wishlist. Wechat (and pretty much all apps from China) needs to have absolutely minimum permissions. Currently I have to put them on a separate phone...


It was hard (and in some cases it still is) but I have started to just not the use apps and services that need blanket permissions. Like I didn't have TrueCaller on my phone until I moved to iOS where it surprisingly works w/o Contact permission. The last time I had checked it would simply refuse to work on Android w/o Contact permission. And I didn't give Uber location permission till it started to ask for "While Using the App" permission. Until then I used to manually enter the address.

Similarly, I have decided not to use many Dropbox apps that need R/W permission to entire Dropbox instead of any one folder that I can choose.

I think we kind of need to show these apps and services their place, so to speak.


xprivacy is the single reason I continue to root my phone :|


> Fine grained control of what information is shared with apps.

No, they won't willingly destroy a major revenue source.


I don't understand this request? Apps are sandboxed, and there's relatively granular permission control now. What is this referencing specifically?


this applies only to installed apps from the store, not system apps like googles or oem apps. you cant disable background activity of any apps. dont want an always listening ai helper from google? too bad for you.


Just turn it off. There's a literal setting for that and it directly asks you to enable it when you set up your phone for the first time.

Please stop spreading FUD :(


Just don't use them. Unlike in iOS, you can replace all those apps with other apps that you prefer. No rooting or jailbreaking required. If you don't like Google Assistant, you can use Alexa or Cortana or something entirely different. If you don't like Siri on iOS, tough luck.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/7/17328758/amazon-alexa-defa...


Not true these days. If you want to use location, the app has to use Google Location Services. No matter what the final app is.


No need for Google Location Services unless you want to access Google's location data. https://developer.android.com/reference/android/location/pac...


You as a developer, yes. But you as a user have no choice if the developer has decided to use Google Location Services.


As a user, you just simply never opt in to using Google Location Services, something that is not even possible on iOS.


This is simply not true. LocationManager API works well still.


Could you please tell me how I am supposed to disable this app? https://i.k8r.eu/q-NmHw Or this? https://i.k8r.eu/3K7idw

I can’t even disable this Google bloatware on a stock phone (Nexus 5X)


You can't disable the only launcher on your phone. Just install another launcher, set that launcher as your default, and the end result is exactly what you would want (no Google launcher running). This is not possible at all on iOS.

Also, you've once again conflated "stock" with Google phone. If you use more precise terminology, you won't be so confused.


I have a different launcher installed, and in use. I backported the changes Google did in their launcher to Launcher3, built that, installed it, and am using it.

Yet I can still not disable these Google apps.

EDIT: Screenshot https://i.k8r.eu/4ZLdMA


And by installing a different launcher, the Google apps never run, which is the effect you wanted to achieve. You gain nothing by disabling the apps after that.

If you were able to disable the apps and then uninstall the the new launcher, your phone would be unusable until you did a factory reset from recovery.


Incorrect. The Google apps are still used and running, e.g. for hotword detection even when the launcher is changed. And even with hotword detection off.

And they take up space in my launcher.


Not on the Pixel. On my Pixel, I can disable the Google app and if I use a different launcher, the Pixel launcher won't run at all. So they're getting more customizable over time.


Root, remove, unroot.


you ideally want something like Xprivacy, which is unfortunately no longer supported

Install something like Netguard (same dev behind Xprivacy) -- which functions as a firewall (vpn) b/w apps and the internet. Turn on logging. Watch all the apps you have installed phoning home and services like graph.facebook.com every few moments.


XPrivacyLua is the successor of XPrivacy. https://github.com/M66B/XPrivacyLua


Another good point -- it sucks stupid amounts of data and radio power. People are always puzzled by how quickly they go through their data, some advertising systems can suck ~500MB/month of cellular data. Some telcos have specifically started showing usage graphs identifying traffic as advertising, but it can be hard to see which app or web page is the culprit.


Is it unreasonable to hope that the default configuration used by 99% of users won't shout your personal data all over the internet?


No it's not and the default configuration doesn't do that at all.


>Encryption of specific secrets for each app.

you mean something like ios keychain? what does this do that can't be achieved using disk encryption + sandbox?

>Ad and js blocking capable browser.

firefox for android


To clarify, Firefox for Android has full extension support, so you can install NoScript, uBlock, and what have you just as you would on a desktop browser.


> you mean something like ios keychain? what does this do that can't be achieved using disk encryption + sandbox?

Because once the phone is booted and unlocked by the user there is no further protection. Do you keep your phone turned off?

Also the lack of device pairing means it is usually easy to dump the encrypted image and crack the pass code quite quickly.

https://blog.elcomsoft.com/2017/10/ios-vs-android-physical-d...

> firefox for android

I find it quite slow, slower than chrome downloading all the ads. But it is an option I guess. It won't get wider uptake though, the default platform browser is the main game.


Google is partly an advertisement company. Google is not going to allow an ad-blocking browser to be included by default in stock Android images.

Ublock has been fantastic on Firefox for me, even though Firefox isn't as good as Chrome.


The Facebook Web site still works fine.


On desktop maybe, on mobile it has been deliberately crippled. Can't share photos/posts via messenger for example, can't save photos either. Best you can do is screen cap, crop, resend. Using the website also means you are logged in, so you get tracked all over the web.


While I appreciate the concept of learning things like "common next steps" to make a device more usable, going by the history of devices like Google Home or the Google Assistant, I also wonder how much of this is going to depend on "give us all your usage history" settings and simply stop working with those settings disabled. The Google Assistant is already unusable without a pile of search history settings enabled; what will "smart" next actions and similar require?


I don't appreciate it, and hope it can be optionally disabled. I don't find it makes the device more usable.

One example, YouTube suggestions. I watched a "Family Guy" clip, didn't upvote it or comment or anything and suddenly I have 10 channels of Family Guy content "recommended" as if I'm suddenly YouTube's biggest Family Guy addict because I watched one two-minute video.

I don't want my phone anticipating what I want to do, I want to tell it what I want to do. Because when it tries to anticipate, it's usually wrong, and that's annoying.


Perhaps this is nonsense and anecdotal but what's concerning for me is not that they're simply wrong and are showing me irrelevant material, but it's that they can become a feedback loop of dissonance and can be reflection of a shift in viewing habits or pollution by what YouTube thinks is a similar demographic to you, but are quite different. When these recommendations are combined with a pseudo-trusted body (in most people's mind) that can be manipulated, it becomes quite a fruitful environment for propaganda.


Google already has all your usage history.

You can view it yourself by dialing ##INFO## aka ##4636## and then selecting "Usage data".

You’ll see all apps you’ve used, for how long you’ve used them overall, how many times, and when the last time was.

EDIT:

    *#*#4636#*#*
This goddamn markup on HN is utterly broken, I wish it would someday get fixed. But no, of course not.


That's local information; the question is, how much of this functionality depends on local information and how much gets offloaded to Google servers?


  *#*#INFO#*#*


I get "Connection problem or invalid MMI code" on an AndroidOne device when I dial that. Edit oh hidden asterisks.


You can disable google play's access to it by turning off "usage access" in app permissions.


Or I can wait 16 days for the GDPR, and hope they fix it by then.


Coming from iOS, with all the disclosures about how Android leaks to Facebook much more I expected to see permissions locked down a lot more.

There's a difference between "I want to put a location in my status update" to "I want to upload my location 24/7 to Facebook's servers so they can profile the crap out of me".

iOS makes this difference. Android doesn't.


Android P is locking various things down, such as network monitoring and mic/camera recording for background apps.

https://developer.android.com/preview/behavior-changes#input...

"Android P strengthens privacy by limiting the ability of background apps to access user input and sensor data. If your app is running in the background on a device running Android P, the system applies the following restrictions to your app:

- Your app cannot access the microphone or camera.

- Sensors that use the continuous reporting mode, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, don't receive events.

- Sensors that use the on-change or one-shot reporting modes don't receive events.

If your app needs to detect sensor events on devices running Android P, use a foreground service."


You can already disable SMS, phone and location permissions (and others) for each app in the previous version of Android (Oreo). I'm sure this has it too.


> You can already disable SMS, phone and location permissions (and others) for each app

This doesn't address the comment you replied to in any way. Surely you see that there's a gap in reasoning between "I want to be able to add my location, just not have my location always broadcast to them" and "you can disable location entirely". Your suggestion specifically violates the "I want to be able to add my location" part of personal control over information.

Or are you suggesting that it's reasonable that a user should have to manually switch apps between white/black lists for behaviors? Personally I would find that idea contemptible.


Bwah? The permissions model is the same on Android and iOS, if you opt into permissions, you have to "manually switch between white/black lists to opt them out"


Nope, there's three options on iOS location sharing: never, always, and while using app.


The difference is on iOS you can specify to share your location only when the app is running in the foreground.

They could both still be improved - it would be nice if you could do one-time permissions, like access the camera, but only this one time (So the permission would be removed when you lock the device or leave the app.)


The typography in Android P looks strange now with the addition of Product Sans alongside Roboto. The old graphic design rule of "never pair multiple sans serifs" is hardly absolute – different sans families can often be successfully paired as header and body, for example – but in this case, there are headings rendered in Product Sans with barely-smaller subheads in Roboto, which just looks jarring.


Ten years ago, when we launched the first Android phone—the T-Mobile G1—it was with a simple but bold idea: to build a mobile platform that’s free and open to everyone.

To what quantitative fraction is Android still free and open (as in speech), and how much of it has been moved into closed-source containers?


Almost all of it is closed.

Since the G1, the following parts are just some of the many that were removed from the open project and replaced with proprietary ones:

Launcher, Dialer (the actual phone app), Contacts, Calendar, Email, on-device Search (last open in 2.3.7), and many more.

Everything that the user touches or sees is closed source.


Also since Android 7 they started locking down what was possible to access with the NDK, any attempt to link against anything not listed as official NDK API will terminate the application.

With Android P they are doing the same to Java apps that make use of reflection to access non-public APIs or work around bugs due to lack of updates.


All of those apps exist in AOSP and have many open source equivalents not developed by Google. The platform that those apps run on is just as open now as it was in the G1 days.


> The platform that those apps run on is just as open now as it was in the G1 days.

It never was open.

Sure, Google ups a bunch of source code to AOSP after the release of a new version but there is no actual OSS-style development going on. All development is behind closed doors, only done by Google and the public cannot contribute.

I cannot check out the latest development version of Android from github, fix some issues and send a PR. It's all a one-way street.


Agreed. It might have made sense to do development behind closed doors in the early days with the mobile patent war raging, but now that most advances are in apps and services on top of the platform instead of in the platform itself and now that Apple is way behind in features and usability and has no way to catch up, they might as well switch to the Chrome development model, or at least the Fuchsia model where the roadmap and design discussion is closed but the code is entirely open.


> Apple is way behind in features and usability

LOLWUT ? Apple is years ahead of Android.


My team of ten went from majority iPhone to all but two on Pixels with the last two saying they will switch on their next upgrade. It's not due to cost — the iPhone X or the Pixel costs nothing to the employee. It's due to sheer usability.


Oh? I can compile all these apps, exactly as they are on the Pixel 2, myself? I'd love to see that source.

The versions in AOSP are heavily cut down on functionality and barely even work.

Im the days of the G1, the actual Google Talk and Google Search apps were open, the Google Books app was open too!

That was the Android we bought into: one where a default install was entirely open, and living without any closed source apps was easily possible.

Today, that's long gone. Play Services here, SafetyNet there, Google®™© apps in the middle.


The Pixel 2 is not an AOSP device, just like the Galaxy 8 is not an AOSP device. Why would you think you get the source for all the third party apps?

> Im the days of the G1, the actual Google Talk and Google Search apps were open, the Google Books app was open too!

Those apps as they were are still open (the Google Talk app was/is actually a multiprotocol messenger), though I don't remember a Google Books in AOSP. Even better, there are now superior equivalents to all of these that are also open source.


Because the G1 was an AOSP device, and so was the Nexus One, and so was the Nexus S.

I was barely in middle school when the G1 came out, I saw Android morph from the promised solution as entirely open source platform to what we have today, where the platform and base apps are all proprietary.


No, none of those were AOSP devices either. They all included Android Market and Gmail, as the most obvious examples.

The platform remains entirely open. That's how Chinese people are able to use Android even though Google does not do business there. You confuse the platform with the apps and services that run on it.


> The platform remains entirely open.

That’d be an argument, if Google removed all of those APIs that were in AOSP and forced people to use their proprietary solutions.

If you want to do WiFi Geolocation, you now need to use Google Play Services.

If you want to use shared library of openssl, you now need to use Google Play Services.

If you want to use background notifications, you now need to use Google Play Services.

This is an official Google diagram describing which parts of Android are open source, and which are proprietary: https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/plays... That was 2013, since it’s gotten even far worse. This was 2016: https://www.googlewatchblog.de/wp-content/uploads/android-st... Since then, it’s gotten even worse.

By now you can’t access the stepcounter, or movement data, or most raw sensors, you can’t run in the background, you can’t access location (except for raw GPS, not even A-GPS) without proprietary libraries.

Hell, you can’t even use the latest OpenGL without proprietary libraries.


> If you want to do WiFi Geolocation, you now need to use Google Play Services.

This was always using Google's proprietary data, even in the G1 days. They split it out into Play Services, so Chinese phones using another provider would be possible.

> If you want to use background notifications, you now need to use Google Play Services.

Background notifications weren't even possible on the G1 when it launched. When background notifications were first made available, they used a Google service and were never part of AOSP for that reason. Chinese phones use other push services inside the firewall.

> If you want to use shared library of openssl, you now need to use Google Play Services.

This is because Google now updates that library for security. If someone else updates the shared library (because you're in China, for example), you can call that version. Or you can just bundle the library in your app.

> By now you can’t access the stepcounter, or movement data.

None of those existed on the G1 and are simply sensor fusion implementations on the open sensor APIs.

> Hell, you can’t even use the latest OpenGL without proprietary libraries.

Yes, you can. https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/graphics/opengl

You need to understand the difference between the platform and the services that Google provides on top of it.


> This was always using Google's proprietary data, even in the G1 days. They split it out into Play Services, so Chinese phones using another provider would be possible.

Incorrect, in the past your apps could access the raw data and feed it into Mozilla’s Geolocation APIs. This is not possible anymore (but returning in limited form with 9.0).

> Background notifications weren't even possible on the G1 when it launched. When background notifications were first made available, they used a Google service and were never part of AOSP for that reason. Chinese phones use other push services inside the firewall.

Incorrect. Until Android 7.0, apps could run in background and open their own sockets for background notifications.

> None of those existed on the G1 and are simply sensor fusion implementations on the open sensor APIs.

Incorrect – the open sensor APIs are only available for foreground apps. You can not collect any stepcounter data unless your app is constantly showing a notification in foreground, or is using the Google Fit APIs.

> Yes, you can. https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/graphics/opengl

Not on any devices, you’ll need to load bindings through Google Play Services.

> You need to understand the difference between the platform and the services that Google provides on top of it.

I seriously suggest you actually go and try to build apps for non-Google Play devices at least a single fricken time, or try to build ROMs, before you comment. You’re just making a fool out of yourself.


Now you are confusing what the platform allows you to do (which has decreased to help battery life) with what the open source platform has implemented for you (which has increased drastically). Every single statement in your post is an example of that. For example, push services, which were never open source, can still be implemented by third parties as a system app. This has always been the case.

> I seriously suggest you actually go and try to build apps for non-Google Play devices at least a single fricken time, or try to build ROMs, before you comment.

I've built apps for the Amazon App Store and built AOSP from source multiple times. That's not the issue here. The issue is that you were confusing the fact that more of the things on Pixel devices are not open source (true, but Pixel doesn't claim to be an AOSP device) with fewer things being available in open source (which is false) and are now confusing fewer things being allowed to third party apps (true) with fewer things being available in open source (still false).


To me, Android is definitely not FOSS but it is still open in the sense that matters.

As far as I know, any company can pay to use it on their phones. I think members of the Open Handset Alliance don't have to pay. I'm not sure what it takes to join that, though.

Anyone can download Android Studio on any major operating system and make an android app. There are no limitations as to what features those apps can use. There is no fee to put an app in the app store. People can still sideload their own apps.


If someone from google reads this, can you please consider removing the functionality that periodically drops the nav bar at the top down? Many people use the top of their screen as a bar to line up and read text. Your site is basically unreadable.


I see this everywhere and it drives me crazy.


When you scroll up to reread something, it literally hides it.


Having to scroll UP when I'm reading by scrolling DOWN only to hide the bar is bothersome. That's the point. And what's the "literally" for, in case I scroll up "figuratively" and wonder why it doesn't work? :-)


That removes my ability to read the site because it keeps moving so I keep losing my place.


Adaptive Brightness: "solving a problem that's been solved numerous times, but this time using machine learning"


Eh, I find that the current adaptive brightness works very poorly. Sometimes slight shifts in my sitting or holding angle will cause the screen to dim.


I can't wait for them to use blockchain on next iteration to solve this issue.


"Android P Beta is available today on Google Pixel." Oh, except the Pixel C which we're pretending never happened.


It looks like lineageOS might also be dropping it for v16. Which is pretty lame for a $600 tablet.


Quick reminder that none of those 600 bucks went towards the LineageOS developers.


About 18 months ago I bought a Samsung S6 off of ebay new in a box for $250. Was actually my first "real" smart phone. I've liked it quite a bit but was disappointed at them taking 8+ months to bring android updates. I was thinking I might get Oreo this August or so. But then I just learned that they've (Sumsung) discontinued all S6 support. So now I guess I'm screwed.

I really liked the samsung health app and the built in heart monitor. And I use samsung pay. I don't think any other phone has this and I would like to stay with samsung. But as I sit here and type this on a desktop running Debian that I built in 2008... I really can't support a company that thinks their hardware is only good for 3 years before you need to throw it in the trash.

Any tips? I don't really want to root and load a rom (and plus that would make me loose samsung pay and wifi calling I think).


> Any tips?

Don't buy Samsung? I learned this lesson a long time ago.


But what to buy instead? The only option seems to be an iPhone. Or is there an android vendor with longer support?


Yeah - buy a stock Android phone from Google, like their Pixel flagship.


Looks like even google is only 2 or three years though


I might just have to move to iPhone. Though I haven't even bought an apple product in my 35 years...


Keep it as is? I have a Samsung tablet from a few years back that got a single major OS update and has run smoothly and perfectly as the day I got it.

My iPhone got a huge number updates over it's lifespan but it also got steadily slower and less reliable after each one.

There is nothing in Oreo or even P that's really worth it.


That's probably what the reality will be. But I hate the idea of once I do 'upgrade' after a few years of no support, that the current version of Android will be so different that I'll have to relearn how to use it again...


What does Android do? It shows you your app, lets you switch them, and gives you some notifications. An operating system exists to run applications -- there isn't much to learn. Even switching from iOS to Android and back isn't that difficult.

The real issue will be when applications stop supporting your version. I found on iOS that support for older versions dies pretty quick but on Android applications seem to support older versions for a very long time.


Except for kernel updates.


Why? Security?


Yup.


I thought Project Treble was supposed to make the updating process easier from an OEM point of view. If so I wish they supported the Nexus 5X and 6P for one more version.


It does. Check out all of the non-Google phones that can install the beta -today-. No waiting. That's only possible due to Treble.


I don't think those phones ever had Treble.


I figured they received Treble last year with Oreo but looking now that's apparently not the case.


But they should have. Ending support just one version before basically immortality for the phones is just a bad joke.

Especially when the only available alternative starts at 3 times the price. $900 for the smallest Pixel in Germany, fuck that.


Treble requires SoC vendors to provide drivers with explicit support. SoCs from Nexus devices aren't supported by Qualcomm so they simply can't be upgraded.


That is why there is this thing called legal agreements.

If Google actually cared, they would impose support requirements on OEMs that wanted to play on Android playground.


but ... did Google really have that much leverage in those relationships, at least, early on?

how authoritarian could Google be about forcing this on, say, Samsung?

and if they granted Samsung an exception, what would the reaction be from other manufacturers?


As much as they would be willing to go.

Given the results of Bada and Tizen, Google would have little to worry about if Samsung ever decides to go rogue.


And they did. It's called Project Treble.


No they did not, that is an urban myth easily dismissed with Google's documents and related ADB podcast.

OEMs are expected to push updates just like before, having a certified Treble device is meaningless, if the OEM does not care to provide OS updates.


And yet Google managed to get Treble support on the Pixel devices over a year after release...

With enough money, it was apparently possible.


Because the SoC is supported.


Then Google is free to give me an alternative device for development.

With the emulator broken, and the Nexus 5X unsupported, I am unable to assure that my apps work on Android P, and therefore I have no idea at all if they’ll crash or not.

But if they’ll crash, Google will punish me by downranking my score. A punishment for something I can’t do shit about.

It’s absolute madness.


> With the emulator broken

Except it's not? Not even remotely true anymore. Starts up instantly now even, they just showed that off. And if you're opposed to Intel HAXM you can now use Hyper-V https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2018/05/08/hyp...


If I type ä on my keyboard, the emulator inputs '

If I type Ctrl-B, the emulator inputs a gesture.

I can’t reliably emulate certain network issues.

Want me to continue? I’ve got a list of dozens of issues.

The problem isn’t speed (that’s something I could live with, but on Linux with KVM it’s faster than all my real devices anyway), but that it’s literally broken.


I mean, you can just buy a phone that can run Android P. There are plenty of them available.

It's not unreasonable to expect a developer to buy a new device after three years, in my opinion.


1.5 years. The Nexus 5X was still sold by Google 1.5 years ago.

And all the alternatives are significantly more expensive.

I’m building open source apps.

If I put ads in my apps or track my users I’d make thousands and could buy a phone easily.

But I’m trying to do the right thing, and have a monthly budget of $6 (current donation level via Patreon).

If you sell me a phone with Android P for one year of my app income (aka 72€), I’d take it. I’ll even put some of my own money on top, 250€, as I paid for the Nexus 5X, I am willing to pay.


It was released three years ago, which is the date you should use for figuring out the life span of a device. You should expect to get less time out of a phone that's already been out for a year and a half when you buy it.

In my country a used 1st generation Pixel can be had for less than the 5x was when it came out (~$300 vs $379). It's not ideal to have to buy used instead of new but it is doable. The Nokia appears to cost about the same price that the 5x did but im not sure it's easily available everywhere.

Anyways, your situation is unfortunate but I don't consider Google's actions to be egregious in this instance.


The Pixel 1 also only gets 1y of support from this point on.

I can't just throw 300€ every year at Google for the privilege of developing apps, even iOS is cheaper at 400€ every 4 years plus 99€ a year.


> But they should have.

Well, sure, but you need to invent time travel before that.


I was skeptical of the new home button and app overview - (why fix something that already works pretty well?) - but it actually looks good and seems to actually improve the experience.


I was the same. The moment I saw the three icons gone I rolled my eyes. I thought it was pretty user friendly as is. That said once demoed I am interested to try it. I would like to have an option to toggle back though if desired because...

When I see UI changes like this my initial concern is not for myself but for my 75 year old mother. It has taken her years to be able to move through Android with some efficiency and the basic consistency has been a good thing. A fundamental UI change like this isn't as easy for users like that to adapt to. I am already dreading the first time she has a Google P based phone. I hope to be proved wrong.


Yep. Same reason I told my parents not to get the iPhone X. Don't want to keep explaining gestures over the phone. They understand the home button.


I installed the beta the moment I heard the keynote say I could immediately.

The new swipe-up-from-Home UI is off by default. I had to turn it on in Gestures. By default, it's the old three-button UI: Back, Home, App switcher.


How are UIs on third-party apps affected? If you turn on gestures, does it mean that on a third-party app, one has to use gesture now to do what could be done before using a back button?


If you turn on the gesture mode, it's still largely the same UI, it's just that the "App switcher" button is gone. The Back button is still there, in the same place as before (although it does disappear on the Home screen now, which is neat).

Tapping Home and tapping Back still do exactly the same thing. Long-pressing Home still opens Google Assistant.

Opening the app switcher UI is now done by dragging Home up (instead of tapping App Switcher).

Quickly switching to the last used app is now done by dragging the Home button right (instead of double-tapping App Switcher).


Thank you, I was wondering why I didn't see the new nav!


Boy, the gesture based task switcher sure looks familar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2tkX_zJp-8


I thought the exact same thing. It's such a damn shame, WebOS was way ahead of its time. Apps could be built using web technology and they ran great!


It took a few years, but last year Android got "native" web apps: https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/


And I'm not mad at all. I'm glad that both iOS and Android are implementing one of WebOS' best feature. Using the Android P beta now and it seems to be most of the way there.


It's the worst part of Android P, and I'll patch AOSP to get rid of it for my devices.

If I open a task switcher, I want to see a lot of my open tasks. Not one, not three, not even four, but dozens.

How long am I supposed to be swiping if there's hundreds of open tasks?

And scrolling with the home button is even worse.

Let's hope Android Q quickly gets rid of this again.


I don't. Most users probably don't. This isn't going anywhere. It was easily one of the most praised features of WebOS by both users and tech reviewers. There's a reason both Android and iOS are going this way.


Then at least make it a config option, or support a pinch to zoom out gesture.

Having both a zoomed in view and a grid view is standard in every single gallery and camera app, adding it to the recents menu shouldn’t be that hard.


Came to rant about this, and the fact that the blog article itself seems to break wheel scrolling.


> How long am I supposed to be swiping if there's hundreds of open tasks?

It's a phone with a small as fuck screen, not a workstation with a big monitor. Why do you even have 'hundreds of open tasks' on a phone ?


I used to be excited about product releases like this one.

But after years of bloated releases and devices that feel old and laggy after just one year of use, I’d rather welcome an Android version that prioritized UI fluidity over everything else.

I loved my Nexus 5, but the Nexus 5x was dead on arrival, to the point that my current setup (1 Android and 1 iPhone) will by just iPhones. I’ll definitely miss some features but I need my work horse to just work and not freeze when I try to press switch between apps.


Nexus 5 came with KitKat, which was the Android release dedicated to ... reining in bloat and restoring decent performance.

https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2013/10/android-44...

5 years later, it would be great to do that again.


Machine learning in smartphones is all great and cool, but when can we get easy "undo" in text editor? Really.


Wait until the "machine learning undo" comes out! It will be the greatest undo of all times!


Or ability to paste into an empty text box.


1) Press-and-hold on the empty text box, 2) a context menu appears, 3) tap Paste. Voila.


Doesn't always work. :(


> ML Kit offers developers on-device APIs for text recognition, face detection, image labeling and more

This is what I always thought Google should do. Operating systems have completely stagnated, but a truly new and differentiating set of features would be to deliver AI as a platform - not a Google-only feature but a set of open APIs that anybody can use or implement. I hope they continue down this track.


“Android P Beta is available today on Google Pixel. And thanks to work on Project Treble, an effort we introduced last year to make OS upgrades easier for partners, a number of our partners are making Android P Beta available today on their own devices, including Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and Essential PH‑1.”

Yay! Project Treble is paying off already :) Personally hoping to see Huawei bringing its recent flagships to P-land very soon, fingers crossed. Has Google finally cut off a few heads from the fragmentation hydra? Time will tell but this is a positive indicator!


I wish they will use all of these new AI capabilities to fix the share UI (https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/05/05/google-please-fix-a...)

Personally, I always use the same app when sharing URLs (Send to Instapaper). Yet, it always shows me default actions I never used (send via Twitter DM, Print, etc.) and takes like 5 seconds to have the UI usable.


I'm tired of the throw away culture of Android device manufacturers. With the exception of Google Pixel and the Samsung top models, where you get up to 3 Years (security) updates, you can throw your Android device away after 2 years, sometimes only after a year. The hardware is usually still fine after this time, but you won't get no more updates and will have an insecure device.


That's the beauty and power of the Android ecosystem. You aren't forced to buy an expensive "flagship" phone which makes it (and smartphones) accessible to many more people. While we all wish manufacturers would support their low end devices for years, it just doesn't make economic sense.

That being said, there are plenty of mid-range and even high-end Android devices that are left out to rot. Samsung and Google are the "winners" here.


Buying a low end android phone every year isn't doing the planet any favors.


You can install LineageOS after two years on many devices.


And on many more you can not. It's getting increasingly difficult with that shitload of devices being on the market which while being so similar are so different. Even if you try to buy with that in mind and explicitly choose a well supported one there is no guarantee this holds true after some years. Either the next Android version breaks a lot of things or the handful of people who do the work loose interest or time to do it, often both.


I've tried the predecessor, CyanogenMod, on an older tablet and there were hardly any update. And the installation was absolutely not fun!

Another downside of rooting your device is that some Apps will no longer work (like banking apps). So, no, this is not the solution I'm looking for. And it is definitely not the solution for the average user.

But thanks anyway for the suggestion.


The rooting issue has been fixed, you can now deativate root after flashing LineageOS. There are also apps which hide the fact that you unlocked your bootloader.

As for the updates: This depends on the device. Check the list of supported devices and you'll see that there are quite a few with weekly updates.


Looks like Project Treble actually helps with faster updates - The beta is available on 11 devices from different OEMs. Essential said they were able to put out the beta for their hardware in less than a month's time. I did not want to put it on mine though after reading the known issues.


they call "frequently used" machine learning now? I expected something fancier...


"machine learning" is the new "cloud". If you slowly expand the definition of ML to include absolutely anything, then it makes it easier for your marketing teams to attach "powered by machine learning! woohoo!" to try to make everything sound cooler.


Except that it's not just frequently used as described. It also takes into consideration what apps you use at a specific time, location, day.


So a slightly more complex formula.


still at the very most bayesian, not neural.


I'm almost tempted to try out the beta on my daily driver Pixel. Seems like a stupid decision though.

Is there an easy way to manage this from a worktation? Completely backup my current state and restore it afterwords?


Posting on the phone! I have just upgraded and the update is absolutely flawless and can be considered as a dail


And the only flaw is it cuts off in the middle of messages if you try to type "daily driver"?


That's the joke.


It seems premature to make such a proclamation right after updating.


I felt the same and had mentally prepared for a factory reset, and all the pains that accompany having to re-setup a phone from scratch.

I upgraded anyway.

I have literally had nothing break or change for the worse, and moreover, the phone (Pixel XL) is noticeably more responsive. I was such a ludicrously smooth upgrade I have been actively looking for colleagues to compliment on the work.


installed it about 3 hours ago and it definitely feels good enough to use as a daily driver


Do you feel it is worth the upgrade ?


Yes! It feels.. very polished. The new notifications and settings area are just awesome. Also the app drawer is pretty great. And the animations... smooth as butter!


Until you discover in X months that moving from the beta to release versions that get security updates requires wiping your phone.


This is not the case if you installed the beta via the beta tester program (and thus received the beta via OTA) and wait until P is released.

If you flashed the beta manually or want to downgrade, then yes, you need to wipe and flash.


You have to wipe the phone to upgrade to the release version? Might change my mind about installing the beta.


If you do OTA (over the air) updates, no, you don't need to ever wipe your device. At the end of the beta they'll just push the retail version and de-enroll your device.

This is my third beta (8 and 8.1) and I never wiped.


famous last words


Still here! Definitely stay away from preview release on your main phone, but once Google slaps beta on a build stuff is pretty stable (have not tried in car Bluetooth yet -- knock on wood).

As a dev, days like these are the ones where I get my moneys worth buying into Googles hardware :)


Updated. Runs smoothly without any apparent bugs so far.

You have to enable the new gestures manually, it seems. Also, none of the new app features demonstrated in the conference seems to have made it to this beta. :(


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