Smart text selection in Android O uses on-device machine learning to recognize phone numbers and addresses, as well as improve the copy-and-paste experience. New in Developer Preview 4 is the ability to paste copied items that have formatting as plain text.

Android 8.0 now offers the option to “Paste as Plain Text” after copying something that features formatting. For instance, after copying rich text from a Knowledge Card in Google Search, the “Paste as Plain Text” button appeared beside the regular “Paste” option on the floating toolbar.

The new button appeared system-wide, including in Google Keep, Twitter, and several other apps that I’ve tested. Android is able to recognize between rich and plain text, as copying the latter will not prompt the new paste option to appear.

This new button is remarkably handy when working in an editor without needing to always reformat text.

Thanks to on-device machine learning, Android O is able to recognize when users highlight phone numbers, addresses, emails, and URLs to suggest the appropriate corresponding app. Additionally, Smart Text Selection allows for more accurate copying by intelligently being able to select whole phrases.

For more on what’s new in Developer Preview 4 visit our updating list of changes and new features.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: