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



1. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Well this certainly won't be creepy. Nope, not at all.

4. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It's no different than apps like Tasker that turns features on and off dependent on your location, like WiFi or mobile data. When I started there were apps that would let you know about certain businesses in your current location. Motorola changed how your phone works when say you start driving, or when you're at home or at work. You don't have to use those features, but it definitely makes things much easier.

5. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

You can turn it off, just like Google Now.

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

maybe it'll be usefull, just like when u go out with your GF, and then your phone give notification "your wife is coming from east, ETA 10min".. and you can get out from there, safely :-/

2. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Goosebumps on me already. Like this guy who keeps on saying his body is ready, I bet I long to see this kind of interaction.

3. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Will it be able to tell if I've been taken by Nazis?

7. TerryTerius unregistered

Well if you were timenapped by Nazi's the Internet, GPS and Google wouldn't exist so… No. But maybe all that amazing technology in your hand would keep you alive... Or maybe you would inadvertently help the Nazis take over the world. Eh. Equally good chances.

6. techspace

Posts: 1037; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

Tasker for the developers.

13. 444777

Posts: 399; Member since: May 02, 2016

Similar to Tasker. Superb app.

8. Gadgety

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

Could Google apply that to Waze? Each time I've tried to amplify the map Waze acts as if I'm waving my hand and launches a voice assistant that I don't want. Btw it hasn't learned my habitual route either, and keeps suggesting a slower and slightly longer route. This leads me to think I whip out the headset, and the example app launches Spotify, but I want to make a call, and it won't change no matter what, so in the end either turn off the feature, or uninstall the app.

9. vijaysivakula

Posts: 229; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

Will it become aware of my wife and close my gallery and chat apps immediately?

10. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

No, but it'll launch chrome in incognito mode and lower the volume when you go to the bathroom.

14. Valdomero

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

Where do I sign?

15. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Wash your hands first.

12. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

AutomateIt Pro already makes use of the first 5 on my OnePlus One for automating system settings/configurations. SoundAbout already makes use of the 6th to block notifications from making sound over the speaker when a headphone is plugged in/connected via Bluetooth, and PowerAmp uses it to resume music when my headphones are connected.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless