Google rolled out a new gesture navigation system in Android Pie, and Android Q will see another major shift. The back button is being retired in favor of a new side-swipe gesture that will let you go back by swiping in from either edge of the phone. You'll be able to swipe from any position on either edge, and with phones getting taller, it is a novel way to go back within an app without reaching all the way down for a button.
Of course, this isn't the first time we're seeing this particular gesture-based system. Huawei's EMUI skin has offered the same navigation gestures for some time now, as has Xiaomi and a slate of other Chinese brands. The only problem with this approach is that were you to swipe from the left edge, changes are you'll pull up the sidebar on apps like Gmail, Maps, and most of Google's first-party apps.
According to The Verge, Google is changing its design guidelines so that the first swipe will pull up the menu, with a double swipe allowing you to go back. With Google officially making the switch, the feature will be rolling out to hundreds of millions of phones once Android Q rolls around later in the year.
What are your thoughts on Google getting rid of the back button with Android Q?
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.