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Android O may introduce finger gestures and more... but also maybe not

Good news comes to those who wait, and those who've been waiting for something as menial as the native ability to use finger gestures to come to Android should feel very jovial. An anonymous source from Google told VentureBeat that Android will soon support this specific feature, in addition to several others. Apparently, these features will be confirmed later this year at the company's annual developer's conference:

The features might or might not make their debut in the next version of Android, a source familiar with the matter told VentureBeat. Google is expected to unveil Android O at its I/O developer conference in May and then release it in the fall following multiple developer previews.

The gesture feature would enable you to bring up a list of recent contacts with the simple outline of the letter C on the screen, for instance, which would be faster than calling out the command to Assistant and waiting for it to respond. It's possible, however, that Google's gesture triggers "could get delayed or might not ever ship," according to the source.

We also don't know if Google will implement a feature called Copy Less, which could help cut down on the finicky process of copying text from one app and pasting it into another. However, this particular ability could come implemented in a future update of the GBoard virtual keyboard.

The source could also not confirm whether the next version of Android would have more robust messaging features, like the ability to tap on an address in a text message in Android Messages and start navigating in Google Maps.

None of these claims have been publicly confirmed by Google. For now, we can merely speculate what's to come in Android O. And if you're not entirely ready for that sort of rumor mongering, you can start smaller by guessing which dessert is the inspiration for the next version of Android.

Florence Ion is an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.

55 Comments
  • Gesturing with your fingers isn't really new, but it would be nice if it was baked into the Android OS so that it does run seamlessly with text messages, contacts, apps, etc. With all of what Oreo (or whatever the hell it's going to be called) could be, it's just a sit and wait approach. The Google I/O event should be interesting..
  • After the dark theme included in the M and N previews turned out to be Google trolling, i don't believe any feature will be in android until the final version hits AOSP.
  • Rumor has it that O will ditch the app drawer and the home screen and add finger gestures so we can all just fecklessly spell out letters on our blank screens and hope that things happen.
  • So like Nokia's Z Launcher?
  • I think the Z launchers implementation of gestures is pretty good really.
  • Screw it, bring it back to Palm days and re-learn graffiti again...
  • Wow, nice memories!
  • I try not to remember those days lol
  • Hahaha, that's freaking great.
  • Rumor has it Google is dropping Android entirely in favor of Black Screen OS
  • Too bad they don't slow down a bit and get nougat on more devices. Instead of pushing forward so fast.
  • Agreed. Just take the time to catch up the handsets that can handle the update and help get them implemented. May be a small sidestep,but sooo many people would appreciate it. Then make the updates more streamlined and "mandatory".
  • Exactly. Here we are talking Android O and most people are still on Lollipop. Yeah Google should slow down a bit, focus on Android N and get people caught up. Also this whole dropping support for devices after two years is pathetic. Most people don't even purchase a "flagship" phone until after it's been out a year so that means the buyer might only get a year's worth of updates. Sorry but that's a huge ripoff.
  • Honestly that is just stupid. Slow down innovations so mfgs can keep up... Wow, glad you are not in control of anything. Every year a new OS is released and every year new handsets get that OS. How is it any different for someone who can't get the latest OS because of the mfg or that there is no new OS? At least those willing to stay on the latest greatest handsets get the latest greatest OS. And furthermore it's all the more reason to go with a Pixel device as that will get OS upgrades like the Iphone. Sad when people thing that because they can't get something then no one should get it!
  • Well, then maybe Google's next innovation should be to figure out how to produce enough phones (at a wide enough range of sizes and prices) to compete with their OEM's so that the OEM's have an incentive to keep up. Anyone who wants an iPhone 7 can get one. And last year's device (and the one from the year before that) can run the latest OS day one. That's the only advantage Apple's got, but it's a big one. Of course, Samsung fans would argue that Samsung is providing innovations of its own - just not the same ones that are in the latest Android core OS. And if they're keeping up with security updates, then maybe there's a point to that... But my last Google phone was a Nexus 4. i still have it, and thanks to LineageOS, it runs Android 7.1.1. But the phone I use is an Axon 7, which has an Android 7.0 upgrade available (more than most midrangers can offer) - but not one that I'm willing to risk installing. Such is the state of the non-Nexus midrange... So, yeah, innovation on a $700 device that's routinely out of stock translates to no innovation (not to mention lousy security). And the sooner the fans acknowledge that, the sooner we'll demand better - and some vendor out there will step up to the plate and deliver it. i guess OnePlus comes closest.
  • All of Google's compatible devices had Nougat on day one
  • Yes, and Google can't control OEM or carriers. Thinking they should slow down so the note 5, M9 ,G4 and such can catch up is completely ludicrous.
  • Maybe Google could make it easier for Android skins to update to the newer versions.
  • That's the responsibility of the OEMs, not Google.
  • How would they do that?
  • Calling oem android versions "skins" is a misunderstanding of what they are. They are NOT merely UI tweaks, they are essentially forks of Android that represent various levels of diversion from AOSP.
  • Google doesn't need to slow down. OEMs need to catch up.
  • It's really a non issue though. The phones that are Google's are on the most current OS. Why should Google ow down because of lazy and cheap manufacturers? If you had a Pixel or the last gen Nexuses you'd be OK, and you know this.
  • I strongly believe if it were truly up to Google, every android device capable of handling nougat would be running it.
  • Nova launcher... I guess I didn't really think about the fact it (gestures) hasn't been a thing in the Google os. I certainly hope the newest version of Android has more exciting things coming then this. And I don't even have 7.0, but I remember back when I was very excited about the new updates and actual features and improvements it was bringing with it.. ah froyo and gingerbread days back on my OG Evo4g.
  • I've used finger gestures since learning to ride a bike.... js
  • I can see Google departing from the tasty treats for "O" and just dropping to their knees to call it "OBAMA!"
  • If only.
  • If only not.
  • Please LET THIS HAPPEN! It will give the term "Obama Phone" a whole new meaning!
  • This is old. Going native doesn't make it new.
  • Android O may introduce holographic proyecting screens or maybe not. Android O may introduce mind-reading keyboard prediction or maybe not.
    The sky is the limit with features that may or may not be showing up.
  • And im still waiting for the nougat update....
  • I had a Google app on my Nexus One that used gestures for... Searching the phone maybe? I can't remember. What's old is new again apparently.
  • It's time for Google to get knee deep with Qualcomm and start providing 3 years of OS updates, not monthly security patches, full blown OS updates. I'll never see the same phone that long, because this is a hobby that I enjoy, but tons and tons of people would benefit. Especially, as flagship prices scream towards a $1000.00 a pop.
  • Between the security updates and Google's ability to provide updates through the Play store, what exactly is the benefit of 3 years of OS updates other than a new number on the screen that shows OS version?
  • Since all you ever are is a smartass troll with a problem, would it hurt you in some way to see longer support for the devices people buy? It's all incremental improvements and additions. Since none of it matters, according to you, why don't we all just drop back to 2.3, dumbass?
  • You're welcome to find a 2.3 ROM to put on your phone if you wish, but that's not close to what I said.
    Sorry, sometimes I forget that when I engage in conversation and challenge someone with a legitimate question for which they have no intelligent response it makes me a troll. I shouldn't be a smartass, I should be a moron who's incapable of answering a question like you seem to be. Noted.
    I hope you are capable of understanding this response, but given the first part of my initial comment and your response that I need to see longer support, I'm seriously doubting your reading comprehension skills. Perhaps I am mistaken though.
  • Blah, blah, blah, f'ck off troll, and goodbye, useless. Post whatever you like, not wasting any more of my time with your consistent troll ass.
  • You were so close to actually making sense with that comment. Only missing a few words. I guess when you have to do more than just parrot what other people have said you struggle. Don't worry, you'll get there someday. Your brain will work. I'm confident of it.
  • Sadly this is not likely to happen with qualcomm...google will need to start producing it's own silicon (ala apple) if they want to exert that much control. There are rumors this may be in the works.
  • Gestures are hidden UI.
    The folks obsessive enough to read this site will know about it, but normal people won't know it exists. It's a cute novelty with the downside of being another complication in the operating syatem to introduce bugs and security issues.
  • If they could add Duo as a substitute to FaceTime baked into the OS. That would be great. It's been years and still nothing baked into the OS for video calling. BlackBerry and Windows Phone have had it in their respective OS with BBM Video and Skype Video. C'mon Google.
  • +1 Allo too
  • Opening an address from a text message would be neat. I remember back in the day when adding events to the calendar via dates in a text message was baked into the OS. Windows Phone OS. That brings me back. Glad to see Google is really innovating.
  • I use screen search for that, works really well, although selecting it directly would be nice.
  • There is always time for gimmicks. The big elephant is fragmentation. Google needs to come up with a way so security updates and OS updates reach devices with quicker.
  • Google will never take the kind of control over Android they would need to in order to end fragmentation. Google wants it on as many phones as possible to feed their ad revenue, and the kind of control they would need to end fragmentation would lead too many OEMs(Samsung) to ditch Android.
  • Exactly right.
  • Google Assistant is the next frontier. So apart from performance improvement and optimizations for Android, all I care about is that Google Assistant has become smarter and integrates seamlessly with all the Google, Android and IoT services and devices in my life.
  • So, here is something which may happen... Or may not...? Why say anything at all? Just wanting clicks I assume... Why not say that a phone will know what app you want to open just by thinking it, this may happen, this may not happen... This kinda news isn't really news is it?
  • It's a way for us to be informed about technology that might appear some time in the future.
  • so I can Flip off my phone? nice
  • It would be nice if I got N first.
  • Can't wait for Android "Oreo" . I'll give it a thumbs up!