Android Weekly | I/O 2021, One UI and privacy storm

  • Post category:Tech
  • Reading time:12 mins read

Starting this week, I will publish Android weekly report every week to share with you the Android-related events worthy of attention in the past week.

This week

The I/O Developer Conference is back (although it is only held online), and there is One UI that iPhone users can play. The multi-party fight against Google to block third-party Cookies is also worthy of attention.

This week’s theme: I/O 21 online watch

One year later, the developer conferences of Microsoft, Google, and Apple once again “meet”

In 2020, due to COVID-19, various global technology conferences have chosen to postpone or switch to online events. Among them, the direct cancellation of the Google I/O Developer Conference is undoubtedly one of the most regrettable decisions. One; on the other hand, this also affected the release rhythm of the Android 11 Beta and Pixel series of new machines last year to varying degrees.

This year, with the restoration of life in most parts of the world, and in the past year, many technology companies have held online events, so Microsoft and Apple have announced that they will hold fully online developers this year. General Assembly.

On Google’s side, this week, after a series of puzzles, Google also announced the schedule for this year’s I/O 2021: May 18th-20th.

If you haven’t signed up yet, you can click the registration link to fill in the relevant information and complete the I/O 21 registration.

Since Google released the Pixel 3a in the I/O keynote in 2019, I/O is no longer just a platform for Google’s new technology release; but considering that the Pixel series hardware in previous years began to be exposed half a year before the release date or even earlier, We have not yet seen the renderings of Pixel 5a or other new devices. It has been explained to some extent that this I/O conference will not release any hardware products (this week, there are actually Pixel 5a and Pixel Watch. Exposure, this will also be mentioned below).

Back to the theme of the I/O conference, although the specific schedule has not yet been announced, there is no doubt that we can see new technology releases or keynote speeches in various fields including MD design, Google AI technology, autonomous driving, machine learning, etc.; Of course, the one that is closest to Android users is the first Android 12 Beta version that will be announced in the keynote speech.

Different from the two major versions of Dev Preview updates that we have now started, the Beta version update also means that the new features in Android 12 have been basically determined, and developers can adapt their applications.

Although according to Google’s currently announced schedule, after the first Android 12 Beta version is released, Google will release 3 version updates before Android 12 will officially enter the stable update channel, what’s even more exciting is the Beta release At the same time, many smartphone brands will also join at this stage, releasing Android 12 adaptation test versions for their own phones (often the new flagships released in the same year).

At the same time, the new theme engine, media control styles, and further enhancements in privacy permissions that appear in Android 12 will make Android 12 more worth looking forward to.

Of course, before the official opening of I/O 21 in May, we are likely to receive the update push of Android 12 DP3 again in mid-April.

System: One UI Apple users hands-on

Samsung released a website called iTest this week, which is actually a “One UI Experience Edition” tailored for iPhone users: You can experience the almost original One UI desktop and theme engine here. , You can also experience the various camera filter styles of Samsung Galaxy phones. Even when you play this One UI, there will be calls coming in, allowing you to simulate the call interface of the Galaxy phone.

Although iTest feels amazing at first glance, it is only a web page after all. Samsung has not (or more accurately cannot) put too many One UI elements in iTest, but the developer is still on this “web page”. “One UI version” has many easter eggs waiting to be discovered: for example, when you have been fiddling with various settings in the settings and trying to explore more details, you may see a message that says “We did not make these settings Interface, so developers can go to have a meal first” pop-up window.

Another detail that easily disappoints Android users is that this project is actually exclusive to iPhone users. If you open this website with an Android phone, you will be prompted “It’s time to buy a Samsung phone!” Then there is a link to a Samsung store; if you open it with a Galaxy phone, the prompt will become “Hey you already It’s a Samsung user, but you can share this link with iPhone users around you.”…

Although the experience brought by the web cannot be compared to the real One UI, Samsung’s well-designed marketing method is still eye-catching, and it is much more interesting than other traditional marketing methods: compared to struggling to talk on social media It’s better to let the target users play it more practically than to let the target users play with it in a big fight to promote how good their own operating system is.

Privacy: DuckDuckGo announced that FLoC will be disabled

Starting in 2020, Google has attempted to completely remove support for third-party cookies in Chrome and its advertising business. So far, Google has announced that the Chrome browser will completely remove support for third-party cookies.

As a response, Google provides FLoC technology as an alternative product to advertisers: In Google’s introduction, this technology can use “groups with common interests” to replace personal identification, so as not to sacrifice personal privacy. At the same time, an accurate advertising push is still obtained.

But what Google apparently did not anticipate is that an industry boycott against FLoC has also gathered like a storm: in addition to the third-party advertiser class actions whose interests have been directly harmed, as the incident gradually ferments, the US Department of Justice has also A series of investigations were launched against Google’s actions: because Google used its platform advantages to forcibly cancel Cookies itself, it is very likely to seize the right to speak in morals, and at the same time, it is suspected of monopolizing its own technical standards.

If the above two parties are essentially based on the logical actions of “performing their duties,” then the resistance from the “protecting user privacy” camp is relatively more surprising: the search engine that focuses on privacy protection DuckDuckGo has also stated in a blog article this week that it will block websites from passing FLoC technology in the new version of the Chrome plug-in.

In the Blog, DuckDuckGo also explained the reasons for doing so: DuckDuckGo does not believe that the FLoC technology developed by Google can protect user privacy more comprehensively than Cookies. At the same time, even if the information used by FLoC leaks less information than Cookies, it still remains. Including potentially sensitive information of many users-from this perspective, choosing to directly disable FLoC is obviously a more responsible way for privacy-conscious users.

Of course, as a plug-in for the Chrome App Store, DuckDuckGo also admits that this update itself also requires Google’s approval, and whether Google will approve DuckDuckGo to block FLoC from collecting user data can also represent Google’s attitude to a large extent. It also makes the direction of the incident worthy of attention.

Tool: Google Photos Update

Although Google has been gradually turning some of the features in Photos into “paid features” recently, ordinary users can still experience two new feature updates in Google Photos this week: the first is a new version of the video editor for mobile updates: Compared with the previous version, a large number of practical functions have been added: such as a single picture export, cropping options, audio removal and other functions.

In addition to the mobile terminal, the desktop (web version) has also recently added support for Google Lens intelligent recognition: According to the introduction of 9to5Google, the desktop version of Google Lens is basically used in the same way as the mobile terminal. Recognizing scenes such as people and plants in the picture, you can only extract and copy text from the image.

Play Store Update

In the early days when the Android system officially switched to the current full-screen gestures, there was an embarrassing problem of the conflict between the call-out gestures in the side menu and the full-screen gestures. After that, Google temporarily solved this problem by improving the design of the menu key. However, Google It has also been committed to using buttons in various application services to replace side menus; this week, Play Store also ushered in adjustments to the settings menu.

Entering into the new version of Play Store interface, you can see that the menu call-out button previously placed on the right side of the search bar has been replaced, and you need to click on the avatar on the right side of the search bar to call out the content in the previous sidebar.

In addition, there are some new changes in the settings menu, but in terms of functionality, the overall difference is not much from before the update; currently this update has been pushed to all Play Store users, if you have not received it yet, you can Press and hold the Play Store icon on the desktop, click “Force Stop”, and then restart the Play Store.

iMessage for Android

Epic’s antitrust lawsuits often reveal some nasty news: this time it is about Apple’s own SMS service iMessage.

This week, Epic quoted the testimony of a number of former Apple executives and former employees in the documents submitted to the court, confirming that Apple has a very clear understanding of users’ reliance on iMessage; this also makes it a non-development by Apple. Reasons for other platform versions of iMessage services.

At the same time, there are multiple testimonies that Apple “had planned to develop iMessage for Android, but decided to give up considering that users may reduce their reliance on Apple’s ecology.”

Although we have seen Apple’s first-party services such as Apple Music on Android, it’s clear that Apple Music’s reason for choosing such a multi-platform strategy will never be “to facilitate the seamless switching of Apple users to Android”, but from The competition from strong rivals such as Spotify and YouTube Music, as well as the competition from iMessage.

For Android users, instead of hoping to give up such conservatism with Apple, it is better to expect more and more useful SMS services on the Android platform, so that Apple will feel the pressure of cross-platform competition, which is what makes commercial companies abandon conservatism. The most effective way.

Watch your step if you’re walking while using your phone

Android users may definitely familiar with Digital Wellbeing: it helps you to use your mobile phone more “healthy” through functions such as mobile phone usage time reminder, focus mode and so on.

Recently, Google adds “Heads Up” mode to let you watch your step if you’re walking while using your phone in Digital Wellbeing.

When you are walking outside, if the phone detects that you are moving and the screen of the phone is always active, prompts such as “Pay attention to your feet” and “Watch the road” may pop up to remind you not to be too addicted to playing with your mobile phone.

At present, this feature is only available for Pixel 5 / 4a mobile phones, but I think that instead of relying on the mobile phone to remind, it is safer to put the mobile phone down while walking. And now we have a lot of time every day to face all kinds of display screens. Putting down the phone and taking a walk is not bad.