While many smartphones are still waiting for their Android 7.0 Nougat update, Google is charging full steam ahead with the developer preview for the platform’s next release: Android O. Today, during the Google I/O 2017 keynote, Google announced a host of new features coming with Android O, including picture-in-picture support, smart text selection, OS security enhancements, and more.
Android always has been very adept at multitasking, and the upcoming picture-in-picture mode will enhance that functionality even more. For example, while watching a YouTube video, simply tap the home button and Android will go right into this new mode and give you a minimized view of the currently playing video. This allows you to effectively multitask, whether it’s to jot down notes about the video, look up a web page, or message a friend, while the video continues to play on the screen.
Another new feature coming with Android O is smart text selection. Utilizing Google’s powerful machine learning, double tapping or long pressing on a word will trigger Android to analyze what you selected and potentially select more text so you can more easily perform a search or copy and paste that text somewhere else.
For example, if someone messages you a business address, simply double-tapping just one word in that address will result in Android automatically selecting the entire address. It’s using context awareness to know that you’re wanting to copy or look up something more than just what you initially selected.
As you can see in the image above, Android will not only know you want to select an entire address, it knows that the text is an address and will suggest Google Maps as a way to automatically input that address in to see where it is or start navigation.
Notification dots is another new feature that will give the user another level of direct interaction with an app and any notifications or new information the app has for you. You’ll still have the familiar notification icons in the status bar and cards when you swipe down on the screen, but a new dot icon will be placed on the app icon itself in Android O. Long pressing on an app icon with this new dot will bring up a small card displaying the active notification, allowing you to directly interact with it there instead of simply in the swipe-down interface.
A lot of users sync various usernames and passwords for web sites and apps within their Google account, and also coming with Android O is a powerful new app autofill feature. In the example above, opening Twitter will trigger a pop-up card to appear over the login fields with your saved username. Tap the username and the login information will automatically paste into the form allowing you for quick and easy logins without having to remember or hunt down your passwords.
There are many other features coming to Android O that relate to various security features and developer tools. A new scanner called Google Play Protect within the Google Play app will allow the user to scan the installed apps on their device to potentially track down any malware or security risks. This will be compatible with every single Android device running with Google Play.
Developers will also have new sets of tools to better optimize their apps, such as real time monitoring of each line of code to help the developer track down any issues like freezes or crashes, or bugged functions.
The developer preview for Android O is available starting today and we will keep an eye out for any more features coming with this release.