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  • - The Android P public beta has been out for a week or two.

  • I've been playing with it, you've been playing with it,

  • and you already know that there's a bunch of gestures

  • that you use to get around the OS but here's a question,

  • is swiping really that much better

  • than just pushing a button?

  • I'm not gonna at the end of this video come down on

  • 'They're the best, they're great, you should love them,'

  • or 'Nah, they suck, they're terrible.'

  • There's plenty of articles about that,

  • instead I wanna look at why I think

  • Google decided to go with gestures and swiping

  • instead of just tapping buttons on the bottom.

  • These gestures are important

  • honestly because they just feel different,

  • and I know that's really floofy and soft and whatever

  • but you're affective relationship with the phone

  • changes when you are swiping around

  • instead of just tapping a button

  • and for Android in particular, that tactility,

  • that tangible direct interaction

  • is part of the philosophy of the design

  • of the operating system.

  • For a few years now,

  • we've had this thing called material design

  • and the stuff on your screen

  • should be sort of like magic paper

  • that you slide around and move

  • and there's something sitting on top of the other thing

  • and by switching to this gesture system,

  • you start moving that paper around

  • instead of tapping a button and having it move itself

  • and that just feels more direct,

  • it feels more, like I said before, human.

  • When I say it's more human, I mean that kind of literally.

  • When you move something around in the physical world,

  • you're actually moving a thing through space

  • and your brain thinks spatially in a lot of ways.

  • When you tap an icon, it's like a if, this, then, that,

  • sort of programmatic thing that just happens

  • but when you actually move a card

  • or move a piece of UI on the screen,

  • it feels to your lizard monkey brain

  • like you're moving a thing on a table

  • and it just feels a little bit more natural

  • and a little bit easier to understand

  • in this intuitive sense

  • even though I hate the word intuitive and UI,

  • but we can come back to that in a whole other video.

  • Before we get too deep into this,

  • there are a couple of caveats

  • that are actually really important to mention.

  • The first is I'm testing this on a Pixel Two XL

  • and so what we see here might be slightly different

  • than what you see on other Android phones

  • when it's eventually released.

  • Number two, this beta's not that good.

  • It's kinda hard to show on camera

  • but you know it when you feel it,

  • it's some combination of animation, speed, and physics.

  • On this beta it just feels off.

  • It's not even as good as what I experienced

  • when I used it on Google's campus the week before IO,

  • that might've been a different build, I'm not sure.

  • Anyway, enough caveats, let's get into it.

  • If we're talking major new functionality with these gestures

  • on the Pixel I think there's two that are really important.

  • When you have an app open,

  • you have one gesture access

  • to a really important thing in the overview screen.

  • When you swipe up real quick,

  • you have these predictive apps at the bottom

  • which are really accurate, I use them all the time now

  • and you also get the Google search bar which is a big deal,

  • you just swipe up tap and then you can keep typing

  • and you'll get something that you want

  • and in Android P, it's actually gonna be way more powerful

  • with those actions and slices,

  • and so, you don't have to think about

  • where that search bar is,

  • you can just start typing

  • and you'll end up with what you want way faster than before.

  • Now if you're an Android person,

  • I know what you're thinking,

  • 'Yo, Dieter, the square button does that just fine'

  • 'in the beta, you don't need the swipe to do that.'

  • You're not wrong, you're totally right,

  • but there are some other reasons

  • that this gesture interface is more efficient.

  • The first is you can just fat finger it,

  • you don't have to hit the home button exactly.

  • You can swipe up from

  • pretty much anywhere at the bottom of the screen

  • to get to this new overview screen or the new gestures.

  • The second thing is no matter what app you're in,

  • you can swipe all the way up

  • and you'll get to your full app drawer,

  • so you have instant access to all of your apps

  • instead of hitting home then swiping up for the app drawer,

  • it saves you a step.

  • And then third, most importantly,

  • there's this lozenge home button thing

  • and you can just swipe it over to the right

  • to switch to your last app,

  • same as double tapping the score button,

  • or you can drag it over

  • and kind of jam through in a little scrolling action

  • your recent apps and then let go to jump to an earlier app,

  • it doesn't have to be the last one,

  • it can be like the one you used three or four apps ago

  • and it's a much faster way to get to those.

  • So that's my basic overview of why I think

  • gestures in Android P could be better

  • than what we had before,

  • but we should talk about the elephant in the room

  • and that elephant is named iPhone 10.

  • So the big question here with the iPhone 10 is

  • did Android P just steal all the gestures from the iPhone

  • and I have to admit, there are some similarities,

  • so you swipe up to get to the overview screen

  • and you can just sort of swipe over to the right

  • on the bottom to switch between recent apps

  • and that's very, very similar,

  • but there are some differences.

  • The first, the thing I haven't really mentioned yet is

  • on Android P, you tap the home button to go home

  • and so they're mixing metaphors

  • whereas the iPhone is a little bit more consistent.

  • The other thing is that Android has more spaces.

  • It has an app drawer in addition to a home screen

  • whereas the iPhone just has a home screen so

  • I don't think it's fair to say

  • they exactly stole this from the iPhone 10.

  • If we're gonna talk about stealing gestures and swipes,

  • we should really talk about this other phone,

  • Palm Pre.

  • So I know you've been waiting for it,

  • for the moment when Dieter talks about

  • webOS and the Palm Pre.

  • Well, fans, mobile accomplishers,

  • here it is, I'm gonna talk about webOS again.

  • So, look, there's a lot of stuff that webOS did

  • that's very similar to what Android does

  • and what the iPhone 10 does.

  • You swipe up to go to a multitasking screen.

  • You swipe up again to go to all of your apps.

  • You can from this overview screen,

  • just start typing and do a search,

  • just like you can on Android P.

  • There's a lot of stuff that's very, very similar

  • and that's just borrowed,

  • but there's stuff that was different on webOS

  • that we don't see here at all

  • so webOS was really into this idea of cards

  • and they would be grouped together

  • and they'd be organized spatially

  • instead of just most recently and

  • there's some benefits to that but also some drawbacks

  • and we don't need to get into all of that.

  • To me, the point is that

  • they're just borrowing ideas form each other

  • and I don't think it's really stealing,

  • it's just that they're certain tools in UI

  • and like you pick some and you try and make them your own

  • and in particular I just think that swiping

  • is kind of a trend and user interface goes through trends.

  • It changes over time and people borrow from each other and

  • that's not the end of the world.

  • (light electronic music)

  • Alright, so, having looked at webOS,

  • miss you buddy, and the iPhone 10,

  • what do we think about gestures on Android P?

  • Well, there's two things

  • that everybody's really talking about.

  • One I don't care about, one I'm super worried about.

  • The thing I don't care that much about

  • is the mixing in metaphors.

  • I get that you still have to tap the home button,

  • I get that the back button still shows up, but,

  • you know what, we're not building a zen garden here,

  • we're making a functional phone OS and we're smart people

  • and we can figure that out, so that's not the problem.

  • The real thing that's gonna be troubling is

  • they have to nail the animation and the smoothness because

  • if you're swiping around and moving stuff

  • and it feels janky,

  • literally one of the description of the beta

  • on Google's one webpage is that there's a lot of jank,

  • if it feels janky this thing is going to fail massively.

  • They have to get it right and there's no in between.

  • Either it's gonna be a disaster

  • or it's gonna be actually a really surprisingly cool success

  • because there is that extra functionality

  • that I've been talking about.

  • So, that's it, I think the gestures could be great,

  • I can't make a final judgment yet,

  • but the bottom line is they have to nail the feel of it

  • but if they do pull it off, it's gonna feel great.

  • Hey everybody, thank you so much for watching.

  • I wanna know, how would you set up gestures on Android

  • if you could just do whatever you wanted.

  • Let me know in the comments

  • and then head over to this video by Eater,

  • it's The Kitchen Gadget show and I actually really love it.

  • They just did an episode on

  • whether or not the Instant Pot is worth it,

  • you should check it out.

- The Android P public beta has been out for a week or two.

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