Google pholds! Just kidding. But Android Q Beta 2 drop supports those cool bendy mobes

Toying with UI, burstin' bubbles

Google has added some cosmetic changes to the second beta of this year's version of Android to go with the plumbing it introduced in the first beta.

Android Q Beta 2 introduces a basic interprocess communication (IPC) UI that platforms, including Google itself, have toyed with. Last year Google called them "slices", but now they're "bubbles". (Over at Microsoft, they're "cards".)

There are subtle differences between these, but the idea is largely the same: a background app requires something from you, but you shouldn't leave your current app.

As Google's VP of Engineering Dave Burke explained: "Bubbles help users prioritize information and take action deep within another app, while maintaining their current context. They also let users carry an app's functionality around with them as they move between activities on their device."

Pop-up messaging conversations are one instance where the API is useful – some apps such as SMS clients and Facebook Messenger, for example, have featured "chat bubbles" for years. Google also touted the example of a web browser which, on failing to detect a connection, could pop up a form with settings toggles, like so.

Browser example, bubbles, Android Q Beta 2

Bubbles were a rough-edged, undocumented feature of Beta 1, but now get the full treatment.

Android Q has also rushed in support for foldable phones, which is important to keep developers from getting too dependent on Samsung and Huawei APIs, resulting in further fragmentation. Samsung and Huawei unveiled their first foldable phones last month. Q Beta 2 supports 7.3-inch (4.6-inch folded) and 8-inch (6.6-inch folded) displays to begin with. And doncha know it? These just happen to be the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X respectively.

Google continues to toy with basic themes, and is experimenting with a new set of gestures – as yet undocumented.

More is explained in this video here*:

Youtube Video

Google's own Pixel phones (all three generations) are supported off the bat. ®


Note the very deliberate hand movements. This Googler may be in distress and attempting to communicate without alerting his captors.

Other stories you might like

  • I was fired for blowing the whistle on cult's status in Google unit, says contractor
    The internet giant, a doomsday religious sect, and a lawsuit in Silicon Valley

    A former Google video producer has sued the internet giant alleging he was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle on a religious sect that had all but taken over his business unit. 

    The lawsuit demands a jury trial and financial restitution for "religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and related causes of action." It alleges Peter Lubbers, director of the Google Developer Studio (GDS) film group in which 34-year-old plaintiff Kevin Lloyd worked, is not only a member of The Fellowship of Friends, the exec was influential in growing the studio into a team that, in essence, funneled money back to the fellowship.

    In his complaint [PDF], filed in a California Superior Court in Silicon Valley, Lloyd lays down a case that he was fired for expressing concerns over the fellowship's influence at Google, specifically in the GDS. When these concerns were reported to a manager, Lloyd was told to drop the issue or risk losing his job, it is claimed. 

    Continue reading
  • End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition
    Firms accustomed to freebies miffed that web giant's largess doesn't last

    After offering free G Suite apps for more than a decade, Google next week plans to discontinue its legacy service – which hasn't been offered to new customers since 2012 – and force business users to transition to a paid subscription for the service's successor, Google Workspace.

    "For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022," Google explains in its support document. "Your account will be automatically transitioned to a paid Google Workspace subscription where we continue to deliver new capabilities to help businesses transform the way they work."

    Small business owners who have relied on the G Suite legacy free edition aren't thrilled that they will have to pay for Workspace or migrate to a rival like Microsoft, which happens to be actively encouraging defectors. As noted by The New York Times on Monday, the approaching deadline has elicited complaints from small firms that bet on Google's cloud productivity apps in the 2006-2012 period and have enjoyed the lack of billing since then.

    Continue reading
  • It's a crime to use Google Analytics, watchdog tells Italian website
    Because data flows into the United States, not because of that user interface

    Another kicking has been leveled at American tech giants by EU regulators as Italy's data protection authority ruled against transfers of data to the US using Google Analytics.

    The ruling by the Garante was made yesterday as regulators took a close look at a website operator who was using Google Analytics. The regulators found that the site collected all manner of information.

    So far, so normal. Google Analytics is commonly used by websites to analyze traffic. Others exist, but Google's is very much the big beast. It also performs its analysis in the USA, which is what EU regulators have taken exception to. The place is, after all, "a country without an adequate level of data protection," according to the regulator.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022