The first beta version of Android Q was released more than a month ago, and although we spent hours dividing each feature it carries from the big to the smallest, there are still some surprises we have not discussed in more details. The most interesting – also the most hidden and hard to play – are some mysterious actions that appear to a few users in certain places just to disappear and never to be seen again. They are a sign of upcoming events, although they are not yet fully reproducible.
What are these actions?
The actions discussed below act as quick links between apps. They provide developers with ways to capture intentions in other applications and target them to their own. We have seen something similar to App Actions in Pie. Do you see a phone number in Chrome? You can save it to your contacts or make a call right away. Send the name of a new music artist to WhatsApp? You can instantly see it in Spotify. But there are more such actions now, although they are hidden in the background and only shown on a few occasions.
I hesitate to call these actions of the App, even if they perform a lot ] in the same way. According to the developer documentation, the App App should appear in Launcher, Smart Text Selection, Google Search app, Assistant, and Play Store and built for Google's assistant. Because what we see in Q is expanding a little bit more than this, also appearing in notifications, and it seems to be built around more natural intentions about the Android system, not just Assistant.
Probably Q is preparing to expand the actions of the App or maybe they are different. But I will cease to hypothesize and come to the circumstances in which our thieves have noticed these actions. Perhaps Google has enabled them based on the server because we can not play most of them on our devices, but they have great potential once they are made available to everyone.
Actions in notifications
] We're getting used to contextual buttons in your notifications. The same functionality that led to smart responses in the current Reply app was used to make suggestions in message notifications for a while. But we know that Android Q has a secret weapon that can do much more than that: A notification assistant. This powerful app can modify notification to other apps and add buttons to it.
Whether it's a notification assistant or something else in the game, some users have noticed new and contextually relevant buttons in their Android Q notifications.
First, as shown by @RonAmadeo and MishaalRahman notifications containing links have a Chrome button to open them directly in the browser, and those with links on Twitter can even offer the app to open in tweets.
Jordi Gordillo showed us how notifications containing a date or time can offer an action in Google Calendar.
In both cases, you completely skip the first step of opening the notification in its original application, then click the link or select the date, and then go directly to the next action in another
Actions are not new to Google Search. Look for every contact on your Android Pie phone and you can expand your name to get call and messenger icons. The same goes for switching device settings.
In Android Q we noticed another case of search actions. If you recently searched for the location of Maps, you may see quick buttons to call that location or get directions there. Our own Artem noticed this, but we still could not reproduce it.
Text Selection Actions
Smart Text Selection is available for Android for awhile and with Android Pie, it is also distributed in Overview (Application Switcher). We've already seen phone call suggestions, opening a Maps location, watching a YouTube video, opening a Chrome link, adding a calendar date, and checking a Spotify artist, but
Both suggestions come from the Google app. The first one sent to us by SpadeX is a quick action to determine each selected word. We were able to play it in Chrome, but only on some webpages and another assistant, Ramit Suri reported that he was working in the Messages app (though only in Overview because you must first select text ), but we were unable to verify it on our devices.
The second also comes from SpadeX and shows the Google app, which offers to track the shipping number, although it does not seem to recognize the number correctly yet.
Lastly, there is a screenshot of Gus Lipkin who told us that he noticed new actions when he saw the transcript of voice mail and the switch to the screen for review, namely: this was an opportunity to respond with a note. We have not succeeded in repeating this, but it sounds just like all the actions described above.
Even Smaller Cranes
Although we were unable to repeat most of these actions even though we tested In the circumstances surrounding our Android Q beta 2 devices, we hope that the next beta of the preview developers will make them more reliable for triggering. At the latest, they must be there in the final release of Q, and more developers need to implement them for their applications.
In a sense, these actions remind me of the first time I found the Android sharing feature. Here is something that makes my life easier, so instead of copying and putting something or manually moving between apps, it provides a seamless transition of an element (text, link, file, multimedia element, etc.) from one to
The prospect of this type of action becoming more widespread is attractive in the same way. They offer fast contextual actions to speed up a few simple processes and smooth the transition between applications, but are much more flexible than a simple share from one application to another.