How to Use App Actions in Android 9.0 Pie

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A long time ago, in Android 8.0 (Oreo), Android added a new feature called App Actions. This feature allowed users to act via an icon in the Application Launcher. If you press the Gmail icon for a long time, a pseudo drop-down menu appears, allowing you to open a current email or compose a new email all at once (without having to start the application first). Each application had different actions that could be performed from this pop-up menu. It was a bit primitive, but it worked.

Well, Google decided to keep this feature in Android Pie, just to refine it a bit. In fact, the developers made the feature much more useful and better adapted to the overall design scheme of the platform.

Let’s see how to use the new version of App Actions.

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What are App Actions?

App Actions allow users to launch specific features in your application via Google Wizard. By enabling application actions to enhance your application, users can easily add a deep link to your applications via the wizard by simply submitting a request to the wizard. If the user has already installed your application, the wizard will trigger the deep link when the user says a passphrase that includes the name of your application, such as “OK Google, order a marshmallow smore vanilla from application smores”.

How do the App Actions Work?

When it comes to App Actions, there are a few different parts that link everything together. We have the Google Wizard, which is essentially the main engine of the App Actions. It is used to handle all user requests and to meet all slice display requirements. Then we have the Android application, which will respond to all the requests that will be sent to it by Google Assistant, it will also fill in all the deep links that will be triggered. An actions.xml file is defined by the Android application that specifies the different entry points for the Google Assistant. These entry points are mapped to the intentions that are supported by Google Assistant. This whole process is user-triggered, which then consumes either the deep link of the slice data that is delivered to the device.

One thing you’ll notice here is the support for deep links and slices. When it comes to dealing with App Actions, we can respond with one of these methods, the path we choose depends on the flow the current user is serving. For example, if the user is asking for something that can be satisfied in a simple answer that does not need to be in the context of the application, then providing sliced data may be sufficient. On the other hand, if this is not sufficient to convey the information to the user, the deep link can be provided to bring the user into the application to satisfy the request.

How to Enable App Actions?

  1. Press and hold anywhere on the Home screen to open the Home screen.
  2. Open the Suggestions tab in the list.
  3. Select the Actions tab and tap the toggle button next to it to activate it.

How To Remove App Actions?

Technology isn’t perfect, and App Actions can suggest an application you can do without. To suggest another application, tap and hold the application’s action and drag it to where it says “Do not display.

App Actions monitors the applications you use most often and adds another application to replace the previous one. If you want to remove an application from App Actions and change your mind in half the time, simply drag the application to cancel it.

You can also interact with an application without opening it. If you’d like to compose an email in Gmail, just tap and hold the application and select the compose option.

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