Android swipes right on Apple’s iOS gestures | TECH(talk)

Hi and welcome back to TechTalk I’m Ken
Mingis executive editor at computer world I’m here today with computer world
Android export junior FAL to talk a little bit about Google i/o and some
gestures stick around okay so Junior thanks for being here absolutely absolutely mind mine my treat
Google i/o is in the rearview mirror now and it seems like the you know there
were a variety of announcements but the ones that the one that caught I think
most people’s attention was the plans to change how people navigate through
Android cue with new gestures that look surprisingly Apple like in there in the
way that they’re being rolled out and how they work so I wanted to find out
it’s interesting because I was talking to Michael Simon last week from Mac
world about how I guess this is the second year in a row that gestures have
been sort of changed and have morphed into something else and if tweaked he’s
like you know it’s it’s gonna be confusing to people and I know when you
wrote about this initially that was one of the things that you had mentioned you
know if you’ve got that whole memory muscle thing when you’re used to getting
around apps on your device and suddenly things change so what do you think’s
going on here is this a good thing or a bad thing or remains to be seen yeah I
mean I think it’s a good thing in the long run in the short term there’s
definitely gonna be some adjustment so as you mentioned last year with Android
Pi Google came out with its first attempt at doing gestures which it was
never really quite great it always felt a little awkward and never quite felt
cohesive there was kind of a pill in the bottom as what was known as kind of a
elongated button but then it didn’t do everything there was still a back button
that would appear an Android has always had a back button unlike iOS a
system-wide back button and it would kind of appear contextually when you
needed it which so just kind of made this awkward combination of gestures and
then a button instead of just using the gesture to somehow go back and it didn’t
really save any on screen space either it was still kind of that same pretty
thick bar at the bottom of the screen it felt like a rough first step that never
quite came together so in a way I think a lot of what we’re seeing with the new
system unveiled in this latest Android Q beta address
a lot of the concerns that most people myself included were calling on Google
to address over the past year the downside is that that means anyone who
just got used to getting around their photo with this whole new gesture system
in PI is gonna be starting over again you know one that the upside of that is
that a lot of people still don’t have pi if we want a good point
I wasn’t thought about that well of course that also means that they’ll get
used to Pi in six months and then they’ll get Q a year from now and so you
know it’s a yeah I mean maybe there will be some manufacturers would go right
from the previous release to Q that happens sometimes but yeah you’re
absolutely right there will still probably be that progression it’ll just
be a little bit delayed for people who aren’t using Google devices or you know
some of the other few ones that get timely updates but yeah I mean the thing
is just like you said it’s gonna be awfully familiar to anyone who has used
a recent iOS device because it’s basically is it basically is the gesture
system from iOS I mean there’s no way around it is it’s not identical there
are some areas where it differs but by and large it is that and you know
there’s certainly been some criticism and and to a degree is warranted that
yes Google did just lift that from iOS at the same time I mean we could come up
with any number of examples where Apple has just straight-up lifted things from
Android and in the past Google has done it I mean it goes both ways so we do see
this stuff happen a lot I don’t know that it’s quite as a grievance of a
thing that it’s made out to be it is what it is and and it goes both ways
and we could come up with a laundry list of examples where it’s happened from one
side to the other and and back and forth over the years well you know it’s
interesting too and I think this goes back to like the everybody wants their
operating system to be the perfect one the correct one the right one you know
the way things are done and when you’re talking about something like gestures I
don’t know how you get to proprietary with that I mean gestures on a small
device or you know even on a tablet there’s only gonna be so many ways you
can swipe up or down or left or right or from one corner to the other and
eventually I think the market will dictate what’s the most efficient way to
do that and I I don’t I think it’s a smart thing when one company borrows or
mimics or whatever what another company’s doing
if it’s best for the users you know and it does seem like that’s that’s what’s
what’s going on here yeah I mean it’s the same if you look at going way back
with the desktop computing interface I mean that’s how standards come about
little by little one company gets it right maybe another kind of iterates on
that a little bit but you know we reach a consensus on what works and then
everybody more or less follows suit with a you know a little bit of flourishes
for what makes sense in any particular environment so yeah I mean I think in
the long run it’ll probably be the best for Android because the PI gesture
system like we said it wasn’t fantastic and if Android is going to go the
gesture route something had to be done and this really does address those those
criticisms that we talked about over the last year unfortunately aside from just
the newness and the getting you surprised yeah exactly there are still
some awkward things and you know to be fair we’re only in the third beta the
actual Q release isn’t gonna happen until late summer early fall sometime in
the third quarter of the year so I don’t want to nitpick too much this is their
first attempt they’re gonna be more betas this isn’t a public release so you
know we have to give them a little bit of leeway there’s some awkward things
one one example the basic navigation is exactly like you see on the iPhone
there’s a thin line at the bottom you swipe up on it to go back to your host
home screen you swipe up and hold your finger down to get to a you know
interface of recent apps or you can swipe up hold down and then kind of go
directly left or right to navigate around that you can also go just left or
right on the on the I don’t know what we’re gonna call it now it’s not really
a pill anymore on the line I guess we’ll say you know to just move between your
apps in sequential order like cards but then when Android added in that the that
iOS doesn’t have exactly is a way for that back command to exist so you don’t
actually have the back button anymore instead what it is is a universal
system-wide gesture where you can swipe in from either side of the screen and
not just in that gesture area anywhere in that main area of the screen you
swipe in left swipe in from the right and that takes you back one step so if
you’re saying Gmail and you’re looking you’ve opened up an email you can swipe
back takes you back to your main message lists if you swipe back again it’ll take
you back to your home screen and I think from what I recall and you and I were
talking about this the other day iOS has something similar but just
limited to the browser whereas an Android
it’s a system-wide thing and it’s a little awkward you
it makes sense in a way but it also interferes with a pretty core Android
design pattern which is that most apps and a lot of apps anyway including most
of googles apps have a navigate a main menu drawer right that slides out
normally when you hit from when you come in from the side you get that drawer
first does this break that so you get the drawer then you and you go back sort
of almost and there’s got to be some way to differentiate that like a half slide
in a full slide yeah it’s gonna take time of course this just came out so for
developers to implement the proper support but it seems like what Google
right now is pushing for which I’m not really crazy about Justin using it there
a couple apps where it does it properly is the first time you swipe in from that
left side of the screen you get the drawer and then the second time you go
back but then there’s some apps where or some you know some interfaces you’re in
where there is nothing that swipes in so it depends where you are and it does
different things but just makes it feel awkward because you get this muscle
memory of thinking I’m gonna swipe in and go back and then in some apps you
swipe in and get the drawer which you don’t quite expect I think ultimately if
this systems gonna stick Android after probably just gonna have to move away
from that that’s probably the hardest thing to move away from that pattern of
swiping in to get the drawer but I mean that’s gonna take quite a while for for
apps to catch up with if that does end up being the route they go it’s sort of
interesting when you when you mention that if you swipe from left to right you
go back if you swipe from right to left you go back it so you can never go
forward in this scheme it’s always you know if you’re swiping in from either
side of the screen you’re always going to go back to the previous app or
whatever you were doing beforehand right on that because I expected swiping in
from the right side to take me forward exactly
that’s that logically that’s the way because I mean that’s the way I think it
works you know with browsers when you’re swiping between you know browser pages
you go left to go back and you go right to go forward to something you’ve been
to and is there any chance that as Android Q evolves over the over the
summer that they might actually tweak that again I wouldn’t be surprised at
all I mean this is just the very first semi-public iteration the first look
we’re getting the first preview we’re getting at it so I wouldn’t be surprised
at all I mean there with these previews first of all they’re meant primarily for
developers and kind of power users and enthusiasts they’re not know
normal person who just has a phone is gonna come across this you have to have
a device that’s supported and deliberately go out of your way to
opt-in accept a million disclaimers and warnings that it’s unfinished software
and all that yeah so yeah by the time it gets out to the public I wouldn’t be
surprised if they do tweak it I think the idea with that is that it’s supposed
to be easy whether you’re left-handed or right-handed whichever way you hold your
phone you know it’s you can get to it easily but I had the same exact thought
the first time I’d use it that just intuitively I expected swiping this way
to go forward which is the case when you’re just using the normal little
bottom of screen line just like it is on iOS you can go back or forward in apps
but the back command is just strictly a back command okay I guess to be fair
that does fit with the way back has always worked on Android there’s always
been a back command there’s never been you know like a forward command per se
other than in like the browser or whatever okay so the new back command
basically is a swipe in from anywhere on the screen
you know toward the center of the screen you’re gonna go back that’s just the
basically the way it’s gonna work as far as we know yeah for the moment and one
important point here and this came out and one of just it was a little aside
mentioned in one of those non keynote developer sessions so it kind of got
lost in the shuffle of everything as of now what Google is saying is that moving
forward this wasn’t the case in Pi with its gestures but moving forward with Q
it’s going to mandate that all manufacturers give users the option to
stick with that traditional Android you know three button non gesture interface
so no one’s gonna be forced to use this and it’ll to be seen over time how many
device makers go with this as the default versus not but either way anyone
who prefers that old setup the the traditional Android button setup can
certainly stick with that that’ll always like should say always but for the time
being at least for the foreseeable future will continue to exist as an
option that anyone on any device should be able to opt back into okay so gesture
changes are coming for those who like them and want to opt in for those who
get Android cue whenever they get it so if you get a pixel this year you’ll be
able to try these out if you’re on some other manufacturers device you might not
get it till next year and of course we’ve got WWDC coming up
in a you know in a few weeks basically it I’ll be very curious to see whether
Apple’s going to turn around and maybe change the way
does gestures I doubt it I see no reason to believe that they would but it’d be
kind of funny to see if they sort of like tweaked a few things now yeah that
would be interesting or at the very least I mean apples never one to shy
away from making little subtle or not so subtle jabs onstage so it’ll be
interesting to see if it’s a topic comes up in anyway yeah about this penny in
any sense anything else from Google IO was there
any discussion about dark mode you know that’s been the long-rumored thing for
for both iOS 13 and I guess future versions of a Android has that come up
at all yet dark mode yeah it was kind of the worst kept secret of and there were
a lot of signs of it a lot of like wink-wink nudge-nudge we’re gonna talk
about this at this session but we’re not actually saying it yet so yeah it
definitely did come out and the latest cube beta does have in in the quick
settings what you swipe down from the top of the screen you can flip a little
toggle to turn dark mode on and off and I think it also turns on automatically
and when I disable it you know it doesn’t have a nighttime mode yet which
which is what I would expect that you could do it at sunset because an Android
does have thing that changes kind of a tone of your screen color tone your
screen at night yeah so I expected that too and maybe again that this is the
first beta but what it does do is when your battery runs low when you get into
low low battery setting dark mode flips on I wouldn’t be surprised to see if we
get like a sunset kind of setting or a time-based setting yeah it’s there and
it works mostly you know apps again cue is still in its early phases so a lot of
apps don’t support it yet but a lot of the Google apps have support and
certainly the the main system interface works and there’s talk about a way and
there’s there’s like a developer flag you can enable right now that’ll force
any app to go into dark mode which hit-and-miss and that would be it could
be cool could be kind of clunky depending on how it how its implemented
yeah do you how do you like it do you like the door I think I’m going to like
dark mode I’m looking forward to it I really hope it comes out you know in iOS
13 do you like it you know I do I think I would like it more with the sunset
kind of setting where it was on automatically in the evening when the
display temperature changes before this I’d never been a huge fan of dark mode
when individual apps just had them just I don’t know I think during the day I’ve
kind of gotten used to having the lighter brighter interfaces
and it just wasn’t worth the trouble to go into every app settings and change it
back and forth so it was almost for me more of an honor off so I would just
always leave it off and stick with normal but having the simple way to just
change it in one fell swoop at the whole system level is it’s kind of cool and
and you know when you’re sitting in a dim room in the evening or looking at
your phone at the monitor or wherever you don’t want to have a bright screen
you know yeah it’s a nice option to have and I think it’s more apps come on board
or Google figures out a way if it’s gonna do that for sitting to dark mode
that’ll that’ll help I mean it’s a big enough thing that hopefully relatively
soon within the time of Q’s release most apps or at least most currently
maintained apps that you know the better apps that people are still using will
will come around there’ll always be a few laggards I’m sure um but last thing
I wanted to ask about you’ve been looking into this some some changes that
are rolling out around security and I know you’re still sort of looking at it
any any insights you can share real quick before I let you go on that on
that front yeah and we’ll have a story about that on computer WorldCom this
week it’s a whole new system that Google is calling Project mainline and it’s ok
when I think of mainline I don’t think of security but ok yeah well yeah every
Google thing always has to have a project you know I’m kind of clever you
can’t avoid it it’s kind of taking the same approach that Google did with
Android itself starting gosh probably nine or ten years ago and has been
ongoing over the last several years was deconstructing it is the way I’ve always
referred to it taking pieces out of the operating system and making them into
almost like standalone apps that Google can then update on its own you know
multiple times a month even and it sends out an update just like it was send out
an update to any app in the Play Store and everybody gets it at once no matter
what it’s a great way to get around the delays when getting the new operating
system it’s a great way to sort of roll out updates quickly for everybody
exactly exactly and even so with the next what this kind of does is takes
that mindset and applies it to the monthly security patches which still
require manufacturers and in many cases carriers to get on board of doing it and
and and that’s always hit and miss it’s not as black and white of a thing as it
sounds though and we’ll get into that more in the story but it the monthly
security updates will still exist this will be
basically take some pieces of that puzzle and make them updatable by google
directly in an app like sense but there are some areas that as it now will still
have to be addressed in the monthly updates and that’ll all only apply to
phones that are running queue so the monthly patches will still continue for
any pre queue Android devices got it okay good
all right Wow I really think I’ve got a great idea for all of the announcements
from Google i/o last week any last things before I let you go I think we
pretty much cover the ball the bar point but ballpark here yeah I mean we hit on
the main ones the other big one is the which I just got here let’s see if I can
figure out which one it is the pixel three oh yeah mid-range pixel phone so
and I’m gonna write about that more soon too
that’s gonna be some serious competition for the XR @nr sorry sorry Apple and you
know I’ll tell you what for having used it for a few days now it it does not
feel like a budget level experience you feel like you’re using a pixel phone I
mean you can certainly see some differences it’s it’s and even just
looking at you can’t really quite tell but it’s it’s a plastic bag the
realistic done nicely not in that chintzy kind of you know black stuff
yeah the slippery stuff no so yeah I mean so far I’ve been I’ve been pretty
impressed with it it it certainly is not the same as a high-end pixel phone but
it’s close enough in the areas that matter the most and I think to a lot of
people it could be a pretty intriguing new option and a way to get going back
to those updates three full years of guaranteed timely ongoing security and
OS updates more or less as their release directly from Google in a way that no
other manufacturer provides and when you can get that for you know four hundred
bucks sometimes even a little less like it for
the next I think week they’re doing a deal where you get for more or less any
where you buy it like $100 in credit from whatever store you got it from so
is essentially bringing it down to 300 bucks which is a pretty affordable price
for iPhone that’s giving you that along with of course you know the pixel camera
and and the other superficial features so the photography work that they’re
doing right now is fabulous I think they’ve really outpaced Apple on that
yeah yeah so it’ll be interesting to see what that does to the the pixel market
share and kind of the pixel brand and if and how that reshapes slowly the Android
ecosystem and Google’s control over it because that’s ultimately what the whole
pixel thing was all about was Google taking back some sense of control and
and getting Android into people’s hands with the way it was Android to be
yeah a pretty significant move now that we’ve got iOS gestures on Android you
know maybe you’ll make it easier for someone like me to eventually switch if
I ever get around to it with the especially with the 3a the
pixel 3a okay thanks Junior I really appreciate the insights and the updates
and we’ll check back with you a little bit later on to see how this is all
working out with cue sounds good thanks for having me great so thanks for
watching again you can subscribe if you’d like what you’re seeing here we’re
closing in on 25,000 subscribers so you could be the one so go for it and in the
meantime that’s wrap

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One thought on “Android swipes right on Apple’s iOS gestures | TECH(talk)

  1. On iOS swiping back to go back is universal. Only on the browser can you also swipe right to left to go forward.

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