Google tests feature allowing Pixel users to control actions via a rear double-tap

Google tests feature allowing Pixel users to control actions via a rear double-tap
You know what it's like when you need to take a screenshot on your Android or iOS phone. You have to perform finger calisthenics with one finger on the power button and the other on the volume button. Touch the buttons incorrectly or with your timing off, and you can find yourself adjusting the volume of your phone by mistake. If you have Google Assistant on your Android device, you can say "Ok Google take a screenshot." You'll be asked to tap the screen to confirm.

However, the days of risking a finger cramp might soon be over for those with a Pixel handset. According to XDA, the Android 11 Developer Preview carries a cool new gesture codenamed "Columbus" that will allow users to double-tap the back of their phone to activate certain features. Such features include opening Google Assistant, launching the cameras, dismissing a timer, play/pause media, take a screenshot, open the recents menu, minimize the status bar, snooze alarms, dismiss incoming calls, unpin notifications, and perform an action selected by the user. The last item on the list means that users will be able to customize their phones' response to the rear double-tap

While XDA was able to get "Columbus" working on a Pixel 2 XL running the first Android 11 Developer Preview, it isn't clear which Pixel models will be receiving this feature. According to the report, the double-tap will work even on phones protected by a case. A video taken by a gentleman named Kieron Quinn shows how the rear double-tap can be used to play and pause media.

Video Thumbnail
via Gfycat

Since "Columbus" is meant for Pixel users (the code is prefaced by” rather than “, even though it was discovered on Android 11 Developer Preview 1, it might end up as part of an upcoming Pixel feature drop.

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