Google may be working on improving the default screenshot system in Android 10 — a welcome change, considering how barebones screenshots are.
9to5Google uncovered code about screenshots in the latest Google app, version 10.61. The code reveals work on a ‘Smart Screenshots’ tool that combines multiple existing features. The first is an ‘Edit & share screenshots’ setting in the Google app, while the second is Assistant’s ‘What’s on my screen’ ability.
For those unfamiliar with the features, the Google app has had a settings option to add editing and sharing tools to screenshots. The downside is that this tool is restricted to screenshots taken within the Google app itself. The Assistant feature allows users to ‘scan’ their screen with Google’s digital assistant and highlight items for search.
The Smart Screenshot feature shows a toolbar decorated with the search giant’s four signature colours after users take a screenshot. The toolbar includes a small preview of the screenshot, options for sharing it along with a link to a commonly-used app and an option to launch Google Lens. Below the screenshot preview is a pencil icon, suggesting users will be able to edit it.
The addition of Google Lens — labelled ‘Explore with Lens’ — could indicate it will replace functionality like Assistant’s What’s on my screen feature. Lens is increasingly taking over visual lookup tools in other apps.
What remains unclear is if this feature will remain limited to the Google app. Hopefully Google takes it system-wide and improves the screenshot feature for its Pixel devices. Currently when a user takes a screenshot in stock Android or on Google’s Android that ships with Pixel phones, it merely captures the image and provides a notification for users to share, edit or delete the picture.
In comparison, many third-party manufacturers have added their own screenshot tools through skins and other operating system customizations. It’d be nice to see Google improve this area of Android — and it seems intent on doing so. A recent Reddit AMA revealed plans to enhance screenshots in Android R (considering the recent name change, Android 11). This could be the first steps in that process.