Google bakes in enhanced privacy features, AI capabilities in Android Pie

Android 9, which harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI), has been built to make the phone smarter.

New Delhi: Tech giant Google on Tuesday released Android 9 Pie, the latest version of its Android operating system that promises better user experience and enhanced privacy features.

The rollout comes at a time when users across the globe, including in India, are concerned about privacy and security of information on their smart devices. The new OS version will start rolling out as an over-the-air update for Pixel phone users, while companies like Sony Mobile, Xiaomi, HMD Global, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus and Essential Phones as well as qualifying Android One will receive the update by the end of the year, Google said in a blogpost.

"We are also working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year," it added. "Android 9 aims to make your phone even smarter by learning from you and adapting to your usage patterns. It also helps you get things done faster, like predicting what you'll want to do next based on your context and displaying that action right on your phone," Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Android and Google Play said.

Android 9, which harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI), has been built to make the phone smarter by learning from user behaviour and adapting to usage patterns, the blog said. "That's why Android 9 comes with features like Adaptive Battery, which learns the apps you use most and prioritises battery for them, and Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you like to set the brightness in different settings, and does it for you," it noted.

Google will also roll out "Slices" later this year that will show relevant information from apps. For example, if a user starts typing 'Lyft' into Google Search, the user will see a "slice" of the Lyft app, showing prices for the ride and the estimated time of arrival to enable the user take action more quickly and easily. The US-based company said improving security is an important component in each of the platform releases.

"In addition to continuously hardening the platform, and an improved security model for biometrics, Android 9 enables industry-leading hardware security capabilities to allow protecting sensitive data like credit card information using a secure, dedicated chip," it said adding that privacy improvements have been made to help protect all web communications and keep them private.

Interestingly, the revised OS version will offer a new dashboard to users to help them understand how they are spending time on their device, including an 'App Timer', 'Do Not Disturb (DND)' and 'Wind Down' features. Using the App Timer, users can set time limits on apps and when the set time lapses, the app icon is grayed out on the phone's home screen.

The DND feature silences all visual interruptions that pop up on screen, while Wind Down switches on Night Light and DND and fades the screen to grayscale before bedtime. Digital Wellbeing will officially launch on Pixel phones this fall, with Android One and other devices coming later this year, the blog said.

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