Feature Friday: Android Smart Notifications

With the new version of Android comes intelligence around mobile notifications.

If you tend to swipe away notifications from a particular app, Android eventually asks you this:

I told Android to keep showing these project updates to me even though I tend to swipe them. I like to see these but don’t often click on them.

I would say that most of the time, I select “Keep Showing” but some of the time I do choose “Stop Notifications.”

I love the idea of a smart operating system that learns how you want to use it and adapts to that versus forcing you to do the configuration manually and that is where Google is clearly going with Android.

You can really see it in the latest version of the OS.


Comments (Archived):

  1. kenberger

    Yep, Android Pie is very AI driven.Another feature that is subtle but works super well, is it learns what level of brightness you like to have, across different settings. Whenever you manually adjust the brightness, after a while it guesses exactly what sort of levels you like.All around, the phone and platform get to know you super well, maybe better than your wife does……so an obvious issue is that at some point, you’re sued or something else dreadful, and the court doesn’t bother bringing in witnesses, it just summons your Google records! Did you testify against yourself? Or enabled something powerful to do that? Maybe the testimony *helps* you instead… Lots of interesting issues around this.

    1. obarthelemy

      I’m on low-midrangers, so my issue is rather with the ambient light sensor being iffy anyway ;-pWhat I did appreciate way back when (I think 3-4 yrs ago ?) is when OEMs started combining the Auto setting with the manual slider. ie, when in Auto-brightness, the manual slider still works, to modify what the Auto setting thinks it should give you. That’s much better than early phones (up to my Galaxy Note 1 in 2012 I think), which only allowed you to choose Auto or Manual, not Auto + manual tweaking.As usual, I’m OK with things being smart. BUT ! I’m not OK with things being half-smart (or is that half-dumb), so if AI smarts to mess with my brightness, it better get it right otherwise it’s just a nagging idiot.

      1. jason wright

        even seemingly smart people can be dumb. i accept it.

    2. Michael Elling

      Yes. But based on the still extremely limited feedback scoring system above, it is unlikely that the AI could completely record or interpret what drove Fred to click on or swipe away in that particular instance. But also because “it guesses”. So drawing a firm conclusion from it (without a doubt) would be difficult.

      1. obarthelemy

        What has me doubtful is that what notifs I want and what I want to do with them is utterly context-dependent. Some stuff I’ll dismiss during the day, but switch to in the evening, if I’m not otherwise engaged. So handling my notifications for me would require being aware of the time (working hours vs idling at home vs …), my location (work, home@den/kitchen/garage/livingroom…, casual restaurant, formal restaurant, …), my activity (working, relaxing, cooking…) , even my state of mind (stressed, relaxed,…).That’s a very tall order. And running a simple tally of notifs I always dismiss is not AI, it’s dumb statistics., if that.

        1. Michael Elling

          As I think about what you and Ken said, it occurs to me that much of the focus on the individual does not (cannot) take into account the individual’s interactions with those around them and those individuals’ contexts (ie, that would require an enormous amount of sharing and coordination across platforms) and also the reaction (or thoughts) of those individuals (you really may never know that).As I think more and more about network effects and the role of the individual (component) in society (network), most of our theory across all social sciences doesn’t do a very good job anyway of taking all that into account. You either look at the individual or the society; but rarely both at the same time. Even when legal judgements are made.This is important as we look at how risk (in every interaction, transaction, communication) is balanced throughout society wrt individuals and society (the network) as a whole. That’s clear with the singular focus on permissionless systems by the BFT/crypto/DLT crowd. Why is that even a problem, if one accepts and buys into “permissioned” systems where marginal costs and value align? I think we need to address that.

    1. aminTorres

      side effects of bastardized design

    2. Michael Elling

      Whatever it is, it is still a flawed way of measuring context, mood, and sentiment. But at least it is a step in the right direction. And not well defined/executed clearly.

  2. jason wright

    i choose to choose, meaning i want to see notifications.i’ve had Pie for a couple of weeks now. the subtle enhancements make it a more polished user experience. I’ve never had an iphone. i’m doubting i ever will. i would still like to see another mobile operating system rise up from the depths of despair to challenge these behemoths. something truly open. one can but hope and dream.https://ubports.com

    1. obarthelemy

      But it seems every app wants to clutter up notifications: weather, news, RSS reader, Google Now… even Firefox wants to tell me when I’ve opened tabs via other apps and haven’t read them yet. I know, fox, your job is to hold them till I got time.I’m limiting notifications to individual messages (no Twitter etc.), only Texts and the family Skype. Mails, to-do, and Calendar I’ve got as widgets right on my home. If I let them run free, I’d have over a hundred notifs a day. I get about 10 with my setup, which is right for me. Then again, I don’t have a hyper-social nor time-sensitive job, mostly.

    2. Lawrence Brass

      I pledged for an ubuntu edge at the time, high spirits and beautiful dreams.. then came reality. $12,814,216 wasn’t enough.https://www.indiegogo.com/p

      1. jason wright

        ubports seems to be making grindingly slow but definite progress. there’s a foundation application now with the authority in Berlin and awaiting approval. the problem as i see it is that the core handsets they are developing for are ageing fast. i suggested that they develop for Pixel handsets as a target market, but i think that has fallen on deaf ears.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          I would like a repeat of the edge initiative this time perhaps with less ambitious specs. An open sourced common hardware specification for ubuntu touch.. ouch.. ubports. Like a raspberry pi kind of organization which could produce a very cheap smartphone.So many wonderful initiatives in the UK, you have the ingenuity!Sometimes the initiatives emerge at an odd time (bad wind), don’t fly, and then get labeled as failures, ignoring the intrinsic potential that they may have.

          1. jason wright

            but not challenging the dominance of GAAF. the size of the US domestic market is an advantage to SV.there’s also this ‘liberal open economy’ government policy ‘crap’ of allowing anything and everything to be sold to overseas interests (e.g. ARM to Softbank). a mistake, but it helps Britain’s elite class to kick the can down the road for a few more generations.

      2. obarthelemy

        At this point, I’m wondering if focusing on Fuchsia isn’t a smarter move. The (modest) nerd part of me finds it much more exciting than the old mess Linux has become; and Fuchsia will run Linux anyway. It’s full open source too, so not only open to hacking, but It’d probably be a good thing to claim a bit of the action early on, otherwise as with Android and ChromeOS the Open-Source aspect of it will be googlified into oblivion (a benevolent dictatorship for now regarding Open Source hacking, but still…)

        1. Lawrence Brass

          “googlified into oblivion”.. haha

  3. obarthelemy

    I don’t know if it’s my specific OEM’s flavor (Xiaomi), but a long-press on a notification pops up the Notifications setting for that app. I don’t really need the OS to add on top of that.

    1. jason wright

      i’ve got the Xiaomi MiA1 (Android One) running 8.1, and i’ll check that.

    1. obarthelemy

      Some still wear gGlasses ! I’m convinced glasses are the next wearable, and I hate Google for having messed up their introduction and set us back a decade. I want my hands-free heads-up notifications, maps, translations, and socially-acceptable always-on assistant. No camera please and thank you.

    2. kidmercury

      this was so much fun…..twitter bans alex jones for calling CNN reporter oliver darcy evil…..lol…..while it is always sad to see this type of behavior, it is ultimately good news. banning jones and other kook voices — lots of sandy hook and pizzagate citizen journalists have been banned — will only make their voice stronger and their audience more loyal and passionate. we truly are at the point where the kook revolution is about to win: they have ignored, they have mocked, they are now attacking. after this comes victory.next week is the 9/11 anniversary. the timing couldn’t be better.for those still opposed, remember: it’s never to late to join the kooks. we welcome you with open arms knowing shared and honest pursuit of the truth is essential to the advancement of our civilization, and is the only way we can resolve this big mess and get to a brighter future.

      1. jason wright

        this may interest you. the CEO of Europe’s largest media empire (Axel Springer) admitting to editorial bias in its news reporting, from 24:00 through to 29:00.https://www.youtube.com/wat

        1. kidmercury

          of course. and in a spirit of trans-atlantic camraderie let us remember that there is even one individual that both americans and brits can shake their heads in disgust at: mark thompson, former director general at the BBC and current CEO of new york times, who has been accused of covering up jimmy savile’s pedophilia while at the bbc. unsurprisingly, the new york times has been anything but diligent or honest in its coverage of pizzagate, just one of many stories of pedophile rings connected to the highest levels of governments.but i know many people are uncomfortable discussing pedophilia, so for a more benign subject we can also note how thompson ordered the lyrics “free palestine” to be censored while at the BBC. i guess not covering israel’s violation of international law by creating an apartheid state with palestinians living in what amounts to an outdoor prison is what passes for journalism these days in the mainstream media. no wonder why kooks are winning.

          1. jason wright

            Gaza is a concentration camp. Netanyahu is an extremist. Thompson got far too close to the Israeli lobby in his time at the BBC. Dopfner is a self confessed Christian Zionist. Not sure about Rupert Murdoch.The attempt by the Labour Friends of Israel lobby to destroy Jeremy Corbyn’s reputation has been shocking. The attempt by one country to shape the domestic politics of another is totally unacceptable.

        2. PhilipSugar

          Thank you for this video. He says exactly what I have been saying.

          1. jason wright

            You’re welcome. Essential viewing for the open minded.

      2. LE

        Anytime someone is that controversial, well known, and has that many followers (assuming they are real followers) they could simply stand up their own website and continuing to dish whatever they want. While it is helpful to have the distribution of twitter it is not essential. Once you are established.You can serve up videos and commentary on your own site which any number of places will be glad to host possibly even for free for the publicity of doing so. Given his knack for getting in the news with stunts (like with Rubio) he could continue to attract attention in the same way as he does now. I am not saying it’s as time or cost effective as using twitter, FB, Youtube whatever. But is is possible. In particular because of the existing following that he already has as well as the media’s penchant for using him as content so that they can sell advertising.Ditto for the President. If he were not on twitter and merely said exactly the same thing in short blog posts (hopefully not with wordpress) what he said would get exactly the same distribution, attention and coverage as it does now with twitter. Right? It probably comes as no surprise that twitter needs some of the characters more than they need twitter.Further to the point anyone who is that famous could also compete for attention with twitter by anointing others to use the service and make their views known with no censorship. Or even regular everyday people.(Not that I need to apologize for anything but this is merely a comment from a business perspective not what I think of what anyone says or does). [1][1] Kavanaugh hearing trying to trap him by highlighting what he said others think about an issue and trying to imply that means he agrees. I hate that type of thing.

        1. kidmercury

          yes of course. jones will be fine, they are trying to deplatform him and that is only making his base more loyal, and helping to fuel an entire suite of apps that are kook friendly — real.video, vuuku, vervemail, gab.ai…..network effects work on the way out too, something messaging apps may wish to consider more seriously.i do feel sorry for the small time kooks that are also being shut down, don’t get the attention jones does, and don’t have the financial base to survive without youtube traffic. and many of those kooks in my opinion are doing better and more important investigative work than alex does; in fact, they are often the cutting edge ones, and alex promotes the story after it gains traction there (as was the case with sandy hook and pizzagate).

          1. LE

            small time kooksWell fwiw I have a client that is a small time kook and in fact even is anti Semitic (and I am jewish and my family was impacted by the events which he questions). They are not a big account at all. I make maybe $10 per year off the account. I could easily kick them out. But they have been around since the early 2000’s as a client and also the only time people started complaining was last year when the Cloudflare ‘woke up in a bad mood’ banning of the Daily Stormer happened.So what pissed me off was more that all the sudden everyone and their Uncle was jumping all over this type of thing when before they didn’t care. And there is nothing that I hate typically hate more than people just being lemmings and going along blindly with what others say. And not allowing some things to even be raised in speech or discussion. That is very parental and I hate ‘parental’. They are just assumed to be de facto wrong to even discuss. So that is what upset me more than the ‘nonsense’ that was being spoken (to paraphrase).The other thing I hate even more is the idea of the ‘trusted white man’ vs. the ‘untrusted white man’. For example NYT ‘trusted white man’. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ‘trusted white men beyond reproach!’. [1][1] Bernie Madoff. The Pope. Etc.

    1. obarthelemy

      I really hate Medium for not having a confirmation screen à la Thurrott.com before eating one of the 3 free monthly stories. Yours was fine, but short and not quite what I usually spent a “star” on ;-p

  4. LE

    I love the idea of a smart operating system that learns how you want to use it and adapts to that versus forcing you to do the configuration manuallyThere are so many things like this that could be done but are not done along the same lines.The reason they are not done is a combination of a lack of caring, a lack of creativity, as well as a general way of thinking that it won’t move the needle or create new revenue. [1] So who cares the top of the pyramid thinks? And no reward system for ‘painting the other side of the fence’. But great things are built by people who care about the other side of the fence because it matters to them personally. (But yes it is not always the way to riches or success for sure only sometimes and in some markets).That said Apple was built on doing little things like this and actually the Iphone changed the world because it fixed a host of small annoying things that cell phone companies and users put up with for years.[1] Autos were similar until Honda came along and put a small change compartment in their cars in the 70’s that you could use for toll money. (Or at least they popularized that). The big three would not do things like that because nobody bought your car for those types of little things.

    1. obarthelemy

      I’m just not sure AI is needed for almost any of those little things. I’ve got a 2-pages list of small irritants (homescreen lockdown, Playstore filter for Desktop-ready apps and gamepad-ready apps, theming esp. black mode, per-app and per-type volume settings, …) that don’t require any AI at all, only Human I, and that seems scarce ;-pThe homescreen lockdown one is especially egregious. Any and all seniors have to shell out for a custom Launcher.

    2. Lawrence Brass

      “lack of caring, a lack and creativity”.. so true. There is something ordinary about the mass markets because, as you say, as the nuances don’t move the needle at all every bit of sophistication is cut away leading to.. ordinary products. As a side effect that leaves the well and carefully designed products in a premium category.

  5. sigmaalgebra

    So, some simple counter assuming some simple pattern exists and becomes “smart”. Hmm …I turn the stove burner to Hi, and the stove stops and says:The last ten times you used this burner you cooked eggs, soup, or hot dogs, and Hi is too hot for those. Do you really want to have Hi?I am installing a standard sponge insert with two plastic pins into the head of a floor mop where the pins are a very tight fit in holes in the head of the mop, and I’m using a pair of vice grips to hold in place the mop end and the sponge while I position a socket from a socket wrench set over the hole for the pin and use a large C-clamp to apply pressure to the whole stack of the socket, the mop, and the sponge, and the C-clamp saysThis clamp can easily apply enough pressure to distort the steel backing of the clamp on the mop. Do you really want to do this?Mowing grass my lawn mower stops and saysThe last four times you mowed this lawn, the grass was shorter and dry. Now the grass is significantly longer and wet, and mowing long, wet grass can overload the mower engine. Are you sure you want to do this?I’m driving my car to a convenience store for some bread and milk, and a skunk runs out from some weeds onto the road in front of my car. I slam on the brakes to avoid running over the skunk, but the brakes do not apply and, instead my car saysApplying the brakes hard can cause the car to lose steering control and crash. Are you sure you want to do this?So, in each case my work is delayed and my life is hurt by some silly, brain-dead nonsense that is insubordinate, impertinent, and insulting, gives “backtalk”, and refuses to do what was requested how and when it was requested.Yes, I want Hi because I’m trying to boil 12 quarts of water.Yes, I know what this clamp can do, but the pin is a tight fit and this clamp should work fine.Yes, in the spring I’ve used this mower to mow grass waist high and once shoulder high, and I’m sure I won’t overheat the mower engine this time.Yes, I hold a Ph.D. in engineering in control theory, was named a Full Member of the SAE, have driven cars for several hundred thousand miles on roads of all types, and am sure I will encounter no control problems this time.But you just risked my killing a skunk. He was smart and/or lucky and got away. Skunks are cute little animals, and you nearly got me to kill one. If this world is not safe for skunks, raccoons, possums, cats, dogs, deer, foxes, squirrels, chipmunks, ground hogs, etc., what hope is there for a good life for humans?You worthless piece of junk software, turn yourself OFF.That standard “X” in the upper right corner of a window should mean “Quit” and not “Consider quitting but we need hearings by a committee of Congress for that.”The idea that you can understand what I’m really doing and read my intentions accurately is just nonsense in your simplistic software.Yes, such backtalk is artificial intelligence (AI) all right, with the emphasis on “artificial”. E.g., the AI software can’t see the 12 quarts of water or the skunk and can’t understand the too-tight holes in the mop head, etc. So, such software is not “intelligent” at all.In a movie about WWII, when a US navy ship sights a submarine periscope, the order right away is “general quarters”, and this means NOW, with everyone RUNNING as fast as possible to the guns, torpedoes, depth charges, etc. with no “Do you really want to?”.Using my favorite text editor KEdit with the standard Microsoft user interface rules, if I try to end the program I can get the backtalkThis file has been changed. If you quit now, the changes will be lost. l do you really want to quit?I get this because my motherboard finally quit, and as a stopgap I rushed out and bought an HP laptop. Well, the thing has a special shift key to use the standard function keys. So, at times, to avoid hunt and peck for that stupid shift key, I try just to end KEdit with a mouse click on the “X” in the upper right corner of the KEdit window but get the backtalk message. With a standard keyboard, as on the server I’ve built, and as long ago, I have function key F3 programmed in KEdit to give the command qquit for quick quit with no backtalk, and F3 is what my fingers easily do. So, for years with KEdit and F3, I didn’t get backtalk, but with the HP shift key sometimes I do. Bummer.I’m trying to get my work done; the backtalk is a brain-dead interruption; and I HATE the !@#$%^&*()_ backtalk and all it tries to do.