Android apps will be aware of your surroundings in the future, and will respond accordingly


If there is one word to describe the future of Android based on what we've seen at Google I/O so far, it would be "context." Google is working hard to make Android and Android apps understand where you are and what you are doing. An example we pointed out yesterday was when asking Google on a Friday night "What's playing?," the app returned movie times. On another night, Google might have figured that you were seeking television listings.

Google's developer website posted information about the Awareness API, which developers can use to make their apps contextually aware. There are seven different types of context including Time, Location, Place, Activity (walking, running or biking), Beacons, Headphones and Weather.  With the Awreness API, an app could automatically open Spotify when the headphones are plugged in. The API also manages how it is affecting battery life and data usage. This way, the developer doesn't have to worry about writing such features into his/her app.

There are two APIs that are found in the Awareness API. Fence API lets a developer's app respond to current situations and notes when a pair of context conditions are met. For example,a developer can request, "tell me whenever the user is walking and their headphones are plugged in." Once the two conditions are met, a callback is sent to the developer's app even if it is not open. Snapshot API allows a developer's app to request contextual information from the API. The example given by Google is "give me the user's current location and the current weather conditions."

Think about a future where someone who takes a lot of photos with his phone, finds his/her camera automatically opening as soon as he/she gets outside. Meanwhile, someone in the same household with the same phone who isn't an avid photographer, might go outside only to see the camera app remain closed. It's called context, boys and girls. And if you're an Android user, get ready to see plenty of it in the future.

source: GoogleDevelopers via TechCrunch, AndroidandMe

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