The software experience on the Pixel 2 isn’t the most advanced out there, but little touches enabled with the hardware make it a great experience. Things like swiping the fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification tray or squeezing the phone for Assistant are great, but apparently, Google was working on another gesture for the camera…

As spotted by XDA, Google was testing a new gesture for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL which launched the camera interface when you lifted the phone up. A short description of the gesture reveals the intended functionality.

To open the camera automatically, lift up your phone into a photo-taking position (landscape or portrait). Works when your phone is asleep or locked.

Google went as far in testing this feature to develop a settings interface and even a brief video showing users how the functionality worked, but the company decided to disable it before moving forward, even though strings related to the functionality are still live in the Android 8.1 preview. Those strings actually reveal that this gesture would be locked to the Pixel simply because it requires specific hardware.

<!– The OEM specified sensor type for the lift trigger to launch the camera app. –>

<integer name=”config_cameraLiftTriggerSensorType”>-1</integer>

<!– The OEM specified sensor string type for the gesture to launch camera app, this value must match the value of config_cameraLiftTriggerSensorType in OEM’s HAL –>

<string translatable=”false” name=”config_cameraLiftTriggerSensorStringType”></string>

It’s unclear why this feature didn’t launch with the Pixel 2, but there are a couple of immediate possibilities. For one, it could be that Google decided to scrap this for concerns of the gesture launching the camera by mistake. Another, more likely scenario is that the company simply couldn’t finish it in time for launch, intending to add it back in later updates.

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Ben Schoon

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