The new Android 7.1 Nougat offers an App shortcut API allowing applications to offer a faster access to some functions or screens.
When the Google Pixel phones were announced, a lot of interesting features were announced. Some of the interesting features are exclusive to Pixel phones, whereas some others will be available as part of the 7.1 Nougat update. One of the top features for the new 7.1 version is faster access for screens as well as functions with the Shortcuts API for apps. Google Now Launcher now offers support w for app shortcuts with the latest developer previews.
Returning in 7.1
App shortcuts are returning with Android 7.1 version. It was first introduced in the form of Launcher Shortcut API for the second Nougat Developer preview. Later, the feature was removed for some reasons, but it was promised that it would come back at a later date. The announcement of the Pixel phones and other news from Google stated that the API was now termed as App shortcuts. However, there was no confirmation about support in the Google Now Launcher. Developer previews have now offered this confirmation.
Significance of the Support
This is definitely significant, as it offers the developer the chance of building as well as testing a shortcut in his or her own application, without buying a Pixel phone.
Activating the Feature
In order to activate the shortcuts menu, you can long press on the application icon, just as you would in order to move it. When the menu appears with a vibration, you can release the finger and the menu continues to remain. You can drag eth e it in some direction to make it disappear, with the icon also disappearing along with the dragging. It works with the icons in any place in the launcher, even in case of icons that sit openly or in folders or even those inside the application drawer.
Users can tap items from the menu for navigating on the screen or for activating a function. They can also long press on shortcuts for dragging it in the l Google launcher for greater convenience. The feature is perfect for accessing music and starting it immediately or for opening a navigation mode while using Maps and even for creating new messages.
There are some applications that offer support for dynamic shortcut. The shortcuts are based on how users make use of the application. Google Messenger can create a new shortcut using names of contacts to whom you have recently sent a message. These shortcuts can also be dragged for creating a permanent shortcut in launcher, so that you can access it with a single tap.
Apps Offering a Shortcut
Currently, there are around twenty applications that offer the shortcuts and all these apps are from Google. You can poke around and search for other options that you could use. The SDK is now available for API 25, so app developers can access the Play Store. This will result in many more apps being offered that can use these shortcuts.
However, the Pixel Launcher and the Launcher for Google Now will offer support for application shortcuts only on the 7.1 version of Android or above.
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