Android Q Beta 1: Top new features

Early last year, the Google Phone app introduced a chat head notification for quick in-call controls. In Android Q, Google is working on a “bubble” experiment that by default presents all notifications as compact chat heads.

Enabled via ADB commands (available below) in Android Q Beta 1, all notifications receive their own “bubble.” The concept of chat heads in Android is not new, but previously required developers (like Facebook) to add app-by-app support. This new bubble experiment that we enabled in Android Q is system-wide.

This stack of notifications can be moved around the screen, with new ones featuring a blue dot in the top-right. Once expanded, the bubbles line up horizontally at the top of the screen.

Underneath the bubble of the alert you’re currently viewing is a toolbar that notes the app name, a button to open, and a shortcut to system notification channels and other settings. The notification is presented below as it is today, with users able to fully interact with them and reply to messages. All types of alerts can be presented as a bubble, including System UI recording controls, screenshot preview notifications, and much more.

Like with other chat heads, you can drag individual ones or the entire stack to the bottom of the screen to dismiss. This will also remove the app icon from the status bar and the notifications shade. At the moment, that latter element and the bubbles coexist.

If this progresses beyond an experiment and actually becomes a user-facing preference, it’s not clear how Google would reconcile the identical methods for interacting with notifications. While this concept is new to Android with the Q Beta, we’ve been told that Google has been working on this experiment for quite some time now.

To enable for yourself, enter the following ADB commands in this order:

adb shell settings put secure experiment_enable_bubbles 1

adb shell settings put secure experiment_autobubble_all 1

Meanwhile, users can revert to the current default system by entering:

adb shell settings delete secure experiment_enable_bubbles

adb shell settings delete secure experiment_autobubble_all

Dylan contributed to this article

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Abner Li

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