Look­ing at An­droid P’s ges­ture nav­i­ga­tion

All ges­tures are not cre­ated equally. MICHAEL SI­MON re­ports

Android Advisor - - Contents -

As ex­pected, Google in­tro­duced a new way to nav­i­gate An­droid with ges­tures in­stead of vir­tual but­tons, and it’s sure to spur opin­ions among both An­droid and iOS users. But while it might seem like a bla­tant rip-off of Ap­ple’s iPhone X nav­i­ga­tion, Google’s method – which is says it’s been work­ing on since be­fore the iPhone X landed

– dif­fers from Ap­ple’s in mean­ing­ful ways. The early beta sug­gests that the ex­pe­ri­ence will ac­tu­ally im­prove on An­droid’s speed and in­tu­ition. Here are four rea­sons why we’re look­ing for­ward to it on the Pixel and other An­droid P phones.

1. It’s op­tional

The big­gest difference be­tween the ges­ture nav­i­ga­tion in iOS 11 and An­droid P is that Google is let­ting you switch it on and off. Head over to the new Ges­tures menu in Set­tings and you’ll find a Swipe up on Home But­ton tog­gle that will en­able the new sys­tem, elon­gat­ing the home but­ton and re­mov­ing the square tasks but­ton. Don’t like it? Just switch it off to go back to the old nav bar.

2. The home but­ton is also a scroll bar

On the iPhone X, the nav­i­ga­tion bar is lit­tle more than a line at the but­ton of the screen that Ap­ple calls a “home in­di­ca­tor”. But on An­droid it’s still a vir­tual but­ton. That means you can still long-press it to bring up Google As­sis­tant, but it also has a new trick: scrolling. Swipe to the left or right on the new home but­ton, and you’ll in­stantly be taken to the app carousel, where you can scroll to se­lect an app. It’s su­per-easy and ac­tu­ally makes it quicker to jump back and forth be­tween apps.

3. You can grab text in the app switcher

When you swipe up to en­ter the app switcher on An­droid P, you’re not just look­ing at vis­ual snap­shots of the apps you re­cently used – they are ac­tu­ally

dy­namic images that you can in­ter­act with. Like the iPhone X, you can swipe up on one of the screens to quit it, but you can also long press in­side them to se­lect text. From here, you can move the han­dles to se­lect the words you want, and copy, search, or trans­late what’s be­tween them, all with­out open­ing the app.

4. Smart short­cuts make switch­ing faster

When you swipe up to en­ter the mul­ti­task­ing carousel in An­droid P, you won’t just get a scrol­lable set of your most re­cent screens. You’ll also see short­cuts to five pre­dic­tive apps cu­rated us­ing Google’s on-de­vice ma­chine learn­ing. Ap­ple does some­thing sim­i­lar with its Siri sug­ges­tions on the Spot­light search screen, but it’s much hand­ier on An­droid P.

Google’s new ges­ture-based nav­i­ga­tion can be turned on and off with a switch

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