Google introduced navigation gestures in Android 9.0 Pie. Sadly, the company’s gesture implementation leaves a lot to be desired. It feels half-baked at best, with Google only doing away with the Recent Apps button and keeping the back and home button intact. With Android Q, Google intends to refine its navigation system further and completely do away with the back button.
However, the navigation bar at the bottom itself stays. With the experimental gestures enabled in a leaked build of Android Q, one can go back by swiping the pill to the left. One can also quickly scroll through open apps by dragging the pill to the right. Below is a video from XDA showing the gestures in action.
There’s a new system transition as well when one switches to the last used app. Google is making this process easier as well by allowing a short pill swipe to the right to take the user back to their last app.
The revamped navigation gestures are simple for sure but with the navigation bar still being present to accommodate the pill, Google’s implementation is still not as practical as navigation gestures introduced by Apple with iPhone X. Even the gestures implemented by other Android OEMs are more practical in this regard as it completely hides the navigation bar thereby freeing up precious screen real estate.
Since the gestures were previewed from an early build of Android Q, it is possible that we will see Google further refine it before it gets around to unveiling the first preview build of the OS.