Feature Request is a 9to5Google series where authors offer their opinion on how to improve popular hardware or software products.
One feature we’ve seen floating around the Android space for the past year or so ─ most recently on Google’s Pixel smartphones ─ is fingerprint quick actions. Since picking up my Pixel, I’ve been heavily using that feature to access my notifications and quick settings, and it’s great, but I feel it could be more useful if it had a few more tricks. Let me explain…
The best gifts for Android users
Double Tap For Google Assistant
Out of everything on this list, I feel that anything Google Assistant related would be first on Google’s list for being implemented. Right now Assistant is activated by either long-pressing the home button or saying “OK Google.” While both of those are easy and convenient, I think a third option is just waiting to be added, through the fingerprint sensor.
Accessing Assistant through the fingerprint sensor feels like an integration that would prove very convenient, although I’m not sure what would be the best way for Google to add it. The best idea I had was a double tap on the sensor, but I’m not sure if this would actually be possible given the tech on the Pixel.
Swipe Up On Homescreen For App Drawer
This is easily my number one request, especially for the Pixel in its stock form. The Pixel Launcher is really fantastic, but I still haven’t fully adjusted to using the new “panel” app drawer. The swipe up action feels sort of weird to me, but using the fingerprint sensor, I think it could feel more natural.
Currently, swiping up on the fingerprint sensor doesn’t implement any actions, it only reverses the swipe down for the notification shade. That means that, at least in theory, Google could use a swipe up on the fingerprint sensor, specifically when the homescreen is active, to open up the app drawer.
Left/Right Swipe On Homescreen To Switch Pages
Another use for this gesture on the homescreen could be switching between pages on the homescreen. A quick swipe to the left or right, an action which currently does nothing, would be an excellent way to get between homescreens. On the larger Pixel XL, it also works better for those who want to use the device one-handed since your finger will likely already be on that sensor. I’ll admit, this one might not be for everyone, but it would definitely come in handy from time to time.
Swipe Up On Web Pages To Scroll Down
Now we’ll move into the least likely, yet possibly most useful action, a swipe up on a web page to scroll down on that page might make reading content on the web a better experience, mainly because your finger won’t get in the way when it’s time to scroll down.
I’m sure there are plenty of use cases that I haven’t thought of here, so feel free to leave a comment below letting us know what fingerprint sensor shortcuts ideas you have in mind!