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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Google starts rolling out Android 12 beta 3: Better auto-rotation, On-device search and more

The new Android 12 beta 3 includes some new features like better auto-rotation and scrolling screenshots.

By: Tech Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: July 15, 2021 1:19:22 pm
Android 12, Android 12 beta 3,Android 12 beta 3 also includes the Play as you Download feature that lets you jump into games quicker. (Image Source: Google)

Google released the third beta for Android 12 today. While a stable version is still not out, this is the the sixth version that Google has released so far, including three developer previews and two public betas. The first beta included Android 12’s major design changes, and the second added Android 12’s privacy dashboard and wallpaper-based theming.

With the third beta, Google has baked in some more features, including the ability to take scrolling screenshots natively and smarter auto-rotation. Here’s details on the new changes.

Scrolling screenshots

With scrolling screenshots in Android 12, users can capture a screenshot of content that is scrollable. This is handy on longer screens and chat windows that no longer need to be clipped with individual screenshots. A number of OEM skins like Xiaomi’s MIUI or OnePlus’s OxygenOS have had the feature for years, but now it will be natively supported for the first time.

Google implemented the feature in the beta for Android 11, but due to the COVID-crisis and limited resources, the feature never made it to the stable release. With it being a part of the beta 3 now, users can expect the feature to roll out with Android 12’s stable release, bringing it to phones by Motorola, Nokia, Google’s own Pixel series and more.

On-device search

With Beta 3, Google is bringing in platform support for AppSearch, a new high-performance on-device search engine. “With AppSearch, apps can index structured data and search over it with built-in full-text search capabilities, and they can use native features like highly-efficient indexing and retrieval, multi-language support, and relevancy ranking,” Google said in a blog post.

AppSearch will be available in two “flavours” including a local index for an app that will make searching backwards compatible through a new AppSearch Jetpack Library, as well as a central index that is maintained for the entire system.

“When you participate in the central index, the system will be able to display your app’s data on System UI surfaces unless you choose to opt out. Additionally, you can securely share data with other apps, allowing them to search your app’s data as well as their own,” Google added.

Better auto-rotation

Android 12 will also use the devices gyro-sensors with facial recognition to determine when a device should be rotated. This will result in fewer unnecessary rotations when you want the device in portrait but are simply laying down on a couch or bed. The facial recognition will also be processed on-device, making the feature secure.

Other improvements include optimisations to the rotation animation and an added machine learning-driven gesture algorithm that will reduce the latency during auto-rotate kicking in by 25 percent.

Game modes

Android 12 beta 3 will also be adding Game Modes that will let you choose profiles for playing games. These profiles can be battery-saving for more juice when you’re away from a charger or peak performance to get maximum framerates. These APIs will be tied to the game dashboard and will be available as an overlay on top of games making them quickly accessible. Meanwhile, play as you download will allow game assets to be fetched in the background during installation, getting you into the actual gameplay faster than before.

Other changes

Android 12 beta 3 will also be adding new privacy indicator APIs in WindowInsets that show when an app is using the device camera or microphone. These APIs will let apps reposition the indicator with an immersive mode so users can still see it. The camera and microphone access toggles that instantly let you revoke permission for the camera and microphone from certain apps are also now configurable for enterprise administrators.

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