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Android gestures are risky, here’s why

– The Android P public beta
has been out for a week or two. I’ve been playing with it,
you’ve been playing with it, and you already know that
there’s a bunch of gestures that you use to get around
the OS but here’s a question, is swiping really that much better than just pushing a button? I’m not gonna at the end
of this video come down on ‘They’re the best, they’re
great, you should love them,’ or ‘Nah, they suck, they’re terrible.’ There’s plenty of articles about that, instead I wanna look at why I think Google decided to go
with gestures and swiping instead of just tapping
buttons on the bottom. These gestures are important honestly because they just feel different, and I know that’s really
floofy and soft and whatever but you’re affective
relationship with the phone changes when you are swiping around instead of just tapping a button and for Android in
particular, that tactility, that tangible direct interaction is part of the philosophy of the design of the operating system. For a few years now, we’ve had this thing
called material design and the stuff on your screen should be sort of like magic paper that you slide around and move and there’s something sitting
on top of the other thing and by switching to this gesture system, you start moving that paper around instead of tapping a button
and having it move itself and that just feels more direct, it feels more, like I said before, human. When I say it’s more human, I
mean that kind of literally. When you move something
around in the physical world, you’re actually moving
a thing through space and your brain thinks
spatially in a lot of ways. When you tap an icon, it’s
like a if, this, then, that, sort of programmatic
thing that just happens but when you actually move a card or move a piece of UI on the screen, it feels to your lizard monkey brain like you’re moving a thing on a table and it just feels a
little bit more natural and a little bit easier to understand in this intuitive sense even though I hate the
word intuitive and UI, but we can come back to
that in a whole other video. Before we get too deep into this, there are a couple of caveats that are actually really
important to mention. The first is I’m testing
this on a Pixel Two XL and so what we see here
might be slightly different than what you see on other Android phones when it’s eventually released. Number two, this beta’s not that good. It’s kinda hard to show on camera but you know it when you feel it, it’s some combination of
animation, speed, and physics. On this beta it just feels off. It’s not even as good
as what I experienced when I used it on Google’s
campus the week before IO, that might’ve been a
different build, I’m not sure. Anyway, enough caveats, let’s get into it. If we’re talking major new
functionality with these gestures on the Pixel I think there’s
two that are really important. When you have an app open, you have one gesture access to a really important thing
in the overview screen. When you swipe up real quick, you have these predictive
apps at the bottom which are really accurate,
I use them all the time now and you also get the Google
search bar which is a big deal, you just swipe up tap and
then you can keep typing and you’ll get something that you want and in Android P, it’s actually
gonna be way more powerful with those actions and slices, and so, you don’t have to think about where that search bar is, you can just start typing and you’ll end up with what you
want way faster than before. Now if you’re an Android person, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Yo, Dieter, the square
button does that just fine’ ‘in the beta, you don’t
need the swipe to do that.’ You’re not wrong, you’re totally right, but there are some other reasons that this gesture interface
is more efficient. The first is you can just fat finger it, you don’t have to hit
the home button exactly. You can swipe up from pretty much anywhere at
the bottom of the screen to get to this new overview
screen or the new gestures. The second thing is no
matter what app you’re in, you can swipe all the way up and you’ll get to your full app drawer, so you have instant
access to all of your apps instead of hitting home then
swiping up for the app drawer, it saves you a step. And then third, most importantly, there’s this lozenge home button thing and you can just swipe
it over to the right to switch to your last app, same as double tapping the score button, or you can drag it over and kind of jam through in
a little scrolling action your recent apps and then let
go to jump to an earlier app, it doesn’t have to be the last one, it can be like the one you
used three or four apps ago and it’s a much faster
way to get to those. So that’s my basic overview of why I think gestures in Android P could be better than what we had before, but we should talk about
the elephant in the room and that elephant is named iPhone 10. So the big question here
with the iPhone 10 is did Android P just steal all
the gestures from the iPhone and I have to admit, there
are some similarities, so you swipe up to get
to the overview screen and you can just sort of
swipe over to the right on the bottom to switch
between recent apps and that’s very, very similar, but there are some differences. The first, the thing I haven’t
really mentioned yet is on Android P, you tap the
home button to go home and so they’re mixing metaphors whereas the iPhone is a
little bit more consistent. The other thing is that
Android has more spaces. It has an app drawer in
addition to a home screen whereas the iPhone just
has a home screen so I don’t think it’s fair to say they exactly stole this
from the iPhone 10. If we’re gonna talk about
stealing gestures and swipes, we should really talk
about this other phone, Palm Pre. So I know you’ve been waiting for it, for the moment when Dieter talks about webOS and the Palm Pre. Well, fans, mobile accomplishers, here it is, I’m gonna
talk about webOS again. So, look, there’s a lot
of stuff that webOS did that’s very similar to what Android does and what the iPhone 10 does. You swipe up to go to
a multitasking screen. You swipe up again to
go to all of your apps. You can from this overview screen, just start typing and do a search, just like you can on Android P. There’s a lot of stuff
that’s very, very similar and that’s just borrowed, but there’s stuff that
was different on webOS that we don’t see here at all so webOS was really
into this idea of cards and they would be grouped together and they’d be organized spatially instead of just most recently and there’s some benefits to
that but also some drawbacks and we don’t need to get into all of that. To me, the point is that they’re just borrowing
ideas form each other and I don’t think it’s really stealing, it’s just that they’re certain tools in UI and like you pick some and
you try and make them your own and in particular I
just think that swiping is kind of a trend and user
interface goes through trends. It changes over time and people
borrow from each other and that’s not the end of the world. (light electronic music) Alright, so, having looked at webOS, miss you buddy, and the iPhone 10, what do we think about
gestures on Android P? Well, there’s two things that everybody’s really talking about. One I don’t care about, one
I’m super worried about. The thing I don’t care that much about is the mixing in metaphors. I get that you still have
to tap the home button, I get that the back button
still shows up, but, you know what, we’re not
building a zen garden here, we’re making a functional
phone OS and we’re smart people and we can figure that out,
so that’s not the problem. The real thing that’s
gonna be troubling is they have to nail the animation
and the smoothness because if you’re swiping around and moving stuff and it feels janky, literally one of the
description of the beta on Google’s one webpage is
that there’s a lot of jank, if it feels janky this thing
is going to fail massively. They have to get it right
and there’s no in between. Either it’s gonna be a disaster or it’s gonna be actually a
really surprisingly cool success because there is that extra functionality that I’ve been talking about. So, that’s it, I think the
gestures could be great, I can’t make a final judgment yet, but the bottom line is they
have to nail the feel of it but if they do pull it
off, it’s gonna feel great. Hey everybody, thank you
so much for watching. I wanna know, how would you
set up gestures on Android if you could just do whatever you wanted. Let me know in the comments and then head over to this video by Eater, it’s The Kitchen Gadget show
and I actually really love it. They just did an episode on whether or not the
Instant Pot is worth it, you should check it out.

100 Replies to “Android gestures are risky, here’s why”

  • Can you hide that "back, home" slider is useless, when you are used to gestures. Can you hide it and use only gestures? If not, it is a huge step back.

  • 0:43 not sure if you are talking about the android P or just the android. Just remember, android was originally designed without any intention of running with touchscreen.

  • All apple fan boys, quit saying they copied ios. Palm pre did this first and HTC sense back in the days.

  • All that gestures are from different launchers in the Google play store,,, nothing new,, only more entertainment 😀

  • This isn't about gestures but shows how Google has been thinking the past few years. Gestures provided the missing link, sort of

  • What I loved about the iPhone 10 is the gestures haha… Gives iOS a breath of fresh air (finally!). Can't wait for later this year to see which phone I get. Between Pixel 3 XL and iPhone 11 +.

    All depends on how Android P turns out. Bundled notifications was one of the reasons I couldn't switch to iPhone, my iPad is a nightmare cause I am too lazy to swipe and tap to then lose everything.

  • The biggest usability problem they have to overcome on Android is the usage of the localization. I want my GPS only to be active when I'm on maps. The rest of the day just turn it back to energy saving mode automatically please. That's an issue you see so many people dealing with.

    @dieter: kudos to you for the webOS reference. I'm pulling that good old example of a masterpiece out of the drawer every now and then, too. Just to show people how that phone predicted the future of UI back than.

  • Dieter – You're so right about bringing up the WebOS analogy. The Palm Pre was like HD-DVD for me. Sad to have seen it fail.

  • What I find most amusing is how this "gesture " based system is now being considered sooo brilliant and innovative coming in the iPhone X and now Android P when Blackberry 10 a good number of years ago now was completely gesture based and buttonless. People totally ignored this system citing how "difficult" it was to learn and that having a home button was much easier. I absolutely loved BB10 and considered it genius and totally ahead but unfortunately the brand took such a beating that nobody even tried it and simply ignored it due to stigma. Very unfortunate for the company as now they have had to embrace Android to survive. I was telling all my friends on Android and iOS that were laughing at me for having a Blackberry 10 that a gesture based buttonless phone would be the future when BB10 first came out and here we are. LOL!

  • I think the gestures of the oneplus 6 are still better… They only need to fix the gesture to go to the multitasking screen.

  • The absence of rubber band scrolling effect in Android hurts me to my soul everytime I (don’t) see it

  • Reminds me of BlackBerry 10 half a decade later
    I guess blackberry got it before iOS and android
    And LG v20 second screen

  • Why can't we have that OnePlus Gesture? It's cooler and at the same time, more screen real estate. I hate having navigation controls under my keyboard.

  • Well webOS introduced gesture and card system way before ios and android. But the company hp said webOS is a sister to iOS that's why some apps from iOS back then got ported easily to webOS before it got to android

  • They REALLY should make this a choice from the setup screen. After all, that's the entire philosophy of Android: choice.

  • Yea iphone brings something and than everybody copies it even when they were joking at it before. Thats just sad and cowardish! Look at huawei – copy of ipho x, google copies gestures. Amazing! Why just huawei didnt admit that design was good? Why android didnt admit that gestures are the way. Its just stupid!

  • I just think it's really important to emphasise that gestures are optional and, as usual, on Android you have the option to use it or not.

    I'm confused why doesn't anyone mention this and the way these videos are put are like you have to live with it

  • Some opinion on that, would be happy if you comment:

    a) Why *remove navbar buttons*:
    1. Swiping gestures are more accurate (you cannot tip so easily on the wrong position)
    2. Swiping gestures have the potential of reducing the navbar space to a minimum (or maybe completely?) for more screen space
    3. Swiping gestures are "cooler" to use (less choppy tipping; more smooth swiping)

    b) I personally *don't like the new recent apps overview*. Yes, you can use this analogy with shifting on the desk, but that doesn't make this great. The vertical overview is much better in my opinion (like a well organized document register not just some stuff on the desk), because
    1. the app icon and especially the names are vertical, which is MUCH better for having an instant overview which apps are there (e.g. I also use TreeStyleTab Addon in my Desktop Browser, it gives a much better overview than the horizontal tab alignment, try yourself and use some tabs ),
    2. to see more apps (not just 2) it's better to show the apps overlaid and giving the first apps more room to better see the content (but you still see what apps you can exspect "behind", better overview),
    3. Moving the apps with a slider instead of directly touching and moving, how is that intuitive?

    c) Why doesn't Google add *One hand mode*? E.g. like in lineageOS, it's really nice there. Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger and there are less producers of small smartphones, recently the only model is xz2 compact by sony (which camera isn't that great). I understand that a big screen is useful for many things (watching some video e.g.), but I still want a completely easy one hand usage (even if you have small hands), just bring a one hand mode for that? I find it extremely intuitive and easy to use how lineageOS implemented that. Please add that, please :).

    What do you think, are there other reasons why adding swiping gestures etc.?

  • I've been using One Hand Operation + and Task Changer from Good Lock 2018 on my Galaxy S9+ and so far I'm pretty happy with it. No as good as iPhone X gestures, but good enough

  • I have a OnePlus 6 actually and I like it's gestures because you can get rid of the navbar (more like what iPhone X does). But with stock Android gestures, you still have that "button" there taking space, so why would I want that? Not only I have the bottom of the screen still taken, but I have only one button instead of three. I don't like it, it mixes two things making it not logical.

    Buttons or gestures, not both. It just makes not sense, wether if it looks cool or not.

  • They made the back button small and ugly and that has some people thinking that it is unnecessary now. I need the back button, I hate it when that button is out of hand's reach or it's non existent, I will hate Google if it gets rid of that

  • The gestures in there current state are not intuitive. With a button, if you want to know what it does, you press it and you'll find out. Gestures don't work the same way, you either have to be told or have to Google how to do the desired action.

  • Apple: copies a feature from Android
    Android fans: omg, Apple is such a copy cat.

    Android: copies the swipe gestures from Apple
    Android fans: we’re just borrowing. After all, it wasn’t Apple who invented it.

  • The animations on Android have always been bad, by that I mean not smooth fluid, it's 2018 and that hasn't changed, btw that Apple leather case has aged wonderfully

  • I'm using the op6 now and it took me just a day to get used to the gestures. I feel they're quite good but Android should make their stuff better like the iPhones..

  • Oneplus has it right. I got used to it quickly and liked it. Android p's navigation, has me frustrated and constantly switching back to the buttons.

  • i love the gestures,but i wish there was no on screen icon/button for gestures,just pure gestures so you could get more of the screen,i hate that little space at the bottom of the screen where the gesture icons are,i want the apps to come down on the screen all the way

  • The gestures are dope…as long as they enhance the user experience instead of making it into a chore…when it done right and it seems like Google put alot of thought into it… Then it works great…

  • wow. so many iphone fanboys in here. they would just totally forget about all the stuff that apple copied from other people and making a big fuzz about the gestures. typical…

  • I totally agree with you. Just wanted you to try the Sony Xperia XZ3 dual which comes shipped with Android 9.0 Pie Alpha out of the box.

  • The back button triangle needs to go. It looks like an after thought. Swipe right needs to be back gesture, the same way it is in chrome.

  • It's silly for anyone to describe major OS manufacturers as the victims of UI theft; thanks for not doing that. I haven't had an iPhone since iOS 4 and have yet to see gesture navigation ideas from Apple that I wasn't using back then through jailbreaking. If anything, the jailbreak and root community are the unsung heroes that consistently push UI forward and then get copied by the OS gods.

  • iPhone gestures seem to discourage the idea of closing apps, getting to the multitasking screen is so weird. Many iPhone users I have seen don't even know how to close apps.

  • Gestures in general are not convenient, annoying and buggy on both platforms. Idk why Google can't just leave the software buttons. They look good and are much more functional. At least you can change this stuff on Android, with apple you're just stuck with what you got.

  • I think the biggest risk are those old people I encounter who can't figure out the back button, home button, or recent buttons as is. They stick to Android because they get familiar. Same with older apple users. This sets up more confusion. And in my experience when showing one of these people the new Google pixel vs new iPhone they find iPhone way easier to comprehend and don't understand the unlabeled buttons. I feel this could sway those people to apple more easily than before.

  • Most people I know don't even know how to use the task switcher on their phone, so I'm not sure how they will ever figure out the gestures without trashy looking tutorials popping up all over the operating system.

  • Change your title to "pixels navigation gestures" shame on you as a tech channel to misguide and spread false information. Samsung, one plus etc have their own implementation of gesture nav so this isn't the "Android gesture navigation"

  • I would love to have more screen real estate with using gesture. But what's up with android P still have that bar at the bottom. what the hell.

  • Use Android O with Fluid Navigation Gestures. Fully customizeable and works even better than Android P and iOS imo

  • You're absolutely correct and right! I got the XDA Navigation Gestures app, and is the BEST! It's way better than stock Android or IOS gesture pill! Check it out! You will need to do some work to disable the nav buttons first. But then once you get the app it adds a tggle for nav buttons on and off as well for navigation pill. Enable and disable with one tap from notification bar. Super good.

  • I really like ti make my gesture pill invisible, and so there is nothing to see, just bunch of gestures and shortcuts via gestures, many more possible with XDA app than stock IOS or Droid. Love it!

  • So how is it risky? Is it a security concern or something? I clicked through the video and he's just talking about features.

  • Matias Duarte worked on webOS. So if Android is "stealing" iOS, it's Matias who now works for Google taking back what he started originally with Palm.

  • The complications with Android's gestures has more to do with having a drawer. It's awkward pulling it up. If you eliminate it using Nova Launcher Prime, then it's a simple as iPhone X.

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