We’re still a good few months away from Google I/O 2017 — which officially kicks off May 17th at the Shoreline Amphitheater — and although it’s still too early to know what Google will officially name the next version of Android (hoping against hope it’s Oreo), it seems some of Android O’s upcoming features have already hit the rumor mill.
Doing the honors is Venture Beat who has it on good authority that Google will be going even harder with AI, namely inside the keyboard app (possibly system wide?) by understanding the context of your conversations with a feature they’re calling Copy Less. The example they give is if you’re chatting with a buddy about a popular restaurant and you want to tell them it’s location. By typing “it’s at”, Google will butt in with an autocomplete suggestion allowing you to quickly insert the address.
It’s not too unlike Hangouts when someone asks “where are you?” and the app immediately suggests sharing your GPS coordinates. As a matter of fact, it’s almost eerily similar to that Onion parody video we saw many years ago, only done in a chat-based context instead of during phone calls (one could imagine we’re getting closer to that reality with every Android release).
Along the lines of “Copy Less” Android O will also recognize when someone sends you address, automatically creating a link that you can tap to pull up the app chooser window to complete your action (Google Maps, for instance).
Another big feature — that may or may not ever see the light of day — are gesture shortcuts similar to Huawei’s Knuckle Gestures found on EMUI. By drawing a the letter “C” for example, you could immediately launch the camera app. It’s not clear how Google plans on executing this (would this only be on the lockscreen?) but apparently it’s something they’re already experimenting with.
As is the nature of rumors, there are no guarantees we’ll actually see these features end up in a future version of the OS, or wind up on the cutting room floor. With every new version of Android, it’s always interesting to see Google further refine the OS and it’s clear AI will play a big role in that. While we’re on the subject, anything you’d like to see in Android O?