Naturally, many of the Android P improvements are working silently, hidden away behind the scenes. Developers have a lot to look forward to, in particular, with many new exciting native Android API's to leverage in their apps.
Naturally, Google I/O 2018 also saw demos and showcases for many Android P features that are still not available in the early public beta ROM but are already on the roll-out map.
Google has been pushing deep in-app data linking for quite some time now and constantly improving the API's in the process. If you're not familiar with the concept, it basically boils down to categorizing and properly describing some or all of your apps data, so that Android can access it on a system level and present it to the user in relevant searches and scenarios.
That's the most basic shape of deep linking. There is a lot more that can be achieved when apps are designed modularly, in a matter that exposes more and more of their inner functionality to the OS as well. App Actions builds upon the deep-linking concept and sprinkles in some machine learning prediction magic to bring-up contextually relevant suggestions.
One example is a row of predicted actions, that will sit below the Predicted Apps row in the app drawer. Once your phone learns your daily routine well enough, it should be able to populate it with relevant one-tap actions, like opening and reading a news briefing or weather forecast in the morning or checking the travel information and starting a navigation to your home at the end of the workday. Flight schedules and various calendar event could be naturally baked in there as well, coming from Google's own apps or third-party ones.
Slices is yet another evolution of the deep-linking model. It takes things to a whole new level, promising developers a way to implement segments of their app interfaces and activities so that Android OS can bring them up seamlessly when the need arises.
That potentially means that you won't even have to open your navigation app of choice when you use the Assistant to look up a point of interest. Instead, the assistant can seamlessly bring the interface up and layer it on top of its UI.
Android Wellness package, Dashboard, App Timer and Wind Down
Google devoted more than a fair bit of attention to the Android user at this year's I/O. The so called "Wellness" package aims to assist the user in a more personal way, providing some potentially useful usage statistics and helping to alleviate distractions and mitigate some adverse effects of smartphone usage. Unfortunately, as of writing this hands-on, none of these features are publicly available in the beta yet.
The Android Dashboard is a personal, centralized statistical hub. It reports back usage numbers, like minutes spent on apps, notification counts and even screen unlocks to the user. While this might sound like a frightening amount of telemetric data that internet giant plans on gathering up, if you go to myactivity.google.com, you might be surprised to find, most of it is already there already. Our data is at the core of Google's business, there is no way around this.
If you manage to make peace with that fact, the potential benefits of actually having all that neatly organized in a centralized location could have numerous potential uses. Google itself is implementing one with App Timer.
It is basically a self-imposed parental control, where you set time limitations on a per-app basis to limit distractions. Once your daily quota is up, Android will grey-out the app in question and nag you if you try to open it anyway.
Then there is Wind Down - a system that promises to help users end the day in a more relaxed manner. On the surface, it seems to automatically trigger Do Not Disturb mode and convert the interface to grayscale, it an effort to gently nudge you to go to sleep. There might be more to it as well, but we can't really know until Google makes it publicly available.