Android Central

Google took its first steps towards redesigning the Android notification tray in Ice Cream Sandwich, and in the latest version, 4.1 Jelly Bean, it's taken things a step further, creating truly informative and interactive notification entries that border on widget-like levels of interactivity. In addition to the standard icon-and-label combo we're used to from earlier Android versions, many Jelly Bean-compatible notifications can be expanded by dragging down with a two-finger gesture. For example, if you've got an IM notification, you can swipe down with two fingers to view the first few lines of the message.

In addition, you'll find that notifications from many Google apps now feature buttons that allow you to perform certain tasks without entering the app. Google Calendar events, for instance, include a button to snooze the event (you can still swipe it away to dismiss it). And after capturing a screenshot, there's a handy "Share" button that you can use to send it via social networks, or any other sharing app you have installed.

Gmail is where I find this feature most useful, though. Swiping down on a Gmail notifications in Jelly Bean allows you to view a list of subject lines and senders, assuming you've got multiple messages waiting. Or alternatively, if there's just one, you can view the sender, subject line, and the first several lines of the message -- more than enough to work out if it's worth jumping into the app to respond. It's a great way to take advantage of the extra visual real estate offered by the Nexus 7, and looks good on the Galaxy Nexus too, assuming you're not already drowning in notifications.

We've got a brief video showing of all these features after the break. Also be sure to check out the rest of our Jelly Bean feature articles.


Reader comments

Jelly Bean feature: A more functional notification drop-down [video]


Any idea if other (non-system) apps can have this too? I'd love for it to be incorporated into Go SMS eventually.

I really like it but think they fell a little short. For instance if you can see the first few lines of the email so as to decide whether or not to respond, why isn't there a button to respond or delete or maybe mark read. If you swipe it away it'll just stay in the list the next time you get an email or you have to delete it in the gmail app. Kinda pointless. Also, what they've done with current calls and missed calls is cool but if you add a button for call back or SMS from a missed call why not add buttons to messaging so you could reply, call back, mark read, or even bring up a list of canned replies. Once again if you choose not to open the text it just sits there and when another comes in you can't read it because instead of a preview now it just says "2 messages"

This is a GREAT point. I hate having to go INTO the app and then having to hit reply etc etc. There should be a quick reply option/button.

I agree that these would be cool features to have. However, these things are not baked into the operating system. Google should be able to add these features by releasing application updates via the play store for each individual app. Hopefully they will.

Edit: Oops duh. They can't do that for the messaging and dialer apps. Too bad.

Yes!!!! Swipe to the right deletes, swipe to the left brings up buttons for reply, forward, mark read, etc.

Pro Tip: It is easier to use your two middle fingers instead of your pointer and middle fingers to do the two-finger swipe action.


"It would be easier to use your middle and ring finger, instead of using your index and middle finger to do the two-finger swipe action." had too.

The notifications being in the center make it look just like iOS.

This is gonna add fuel to the fire soon.

Google should go back to putting the notifications back in the corner. It looks better that way. That dead center crap makes it look as though someone ran out of ideas where they should be.

Once Googles patent from 2009 is approved (it takes forever) then they will be able to gain from that in some way.

Hopefully they win world wide sales injunctions until apple has to rip out notifications with an emergency patch.

lol i borrow sugar from my neighbor everyday but he cant take my wife... just saying... iOS will get hurt soon :)

Their story will be (and it does hold water) they hired the Jailbreak dev who's responsible for MobileNotifier, which they did. I would rather google incorporate the better features of apple's NC into android.

for example, a centralized place to manage what apps can notify you and how.(the current system of going to Prefs > apps > clicking on the individual app to turn off notifications is cumbersome. iOS offers surprisingly more control (by a wide margin) about how you are notified (be it lock screen, sound, banner, or pop-up)

Google has a patent pending on this dude. Just because Apple stole it doesn't mean they invented it. You sound a bit drone-ish.

I got it! Woot that's me (Chris Morales) in that first notification. The Event was pretty neat too. WE had a blast helping you out +Alex Dobie...LOL! See what I did there???

It would be nice to be able to configure the notification. Nothing is worse then sitting in a meeting, having a notification come in for your gmail account and have the first few lines of a private email visible to anyone looking over your shoulder because you wanted to check the weather alert that also popped up.