Wednesday , November 22 2017

Want to remap the active edge / squeeze gesture on the Pixel 2 range? You can.

One of my favourite features in the new Pixel 2 range is the Active Edge gesture, which allows you to summon the Google Assistant from anywhere with a simple squeeze on the sides of the phone. It’s rather neat, but here’s a hint of Bixby about it, because while Google lets the end user turn the feature off, it can’t be re-mapped to anything else. On the HTC U11, which is where the feature came from, you can summon the camera, and that’s something Pixel 2 users are already asking for.

Rather than wait for Google to do it (which, let’s face it, they might), enterprising developers have taken advantage and stepped in to let users have their way today. Without modification, the gesture to launch Google Assistant is somewhat hardcoded, as XDA Developers explains:

Google hardcoded SystemUI to only allow squeeze to work when the current assistant app is set to Google Assistant. That means that developers would have to use a combination of an Accessibility Service and reading system logs in order to detect when the user squeezes their phone so they can hide Google Assistant and instead perform a user-defined action.

That’s exactly what the latest update to Button Mapper by flar2 does. You can remap the Active Edge feature to launch pretty much whatever you want, from the Camera to Assistant, or maybe you’re an avid SnapChatter? Whatever your fancy, you can do it now. Here’s how it looks:

The process is pretty simple. Install Button Mapper, enable the Accessibility Service so it can see what’s happening on your phone, and then use ADB to run a quick command to give it access. It’s not super hard, and the instructions are in-app ready to follow.

If you’ve got a Pixel 2, or you’re about to, you can grab Button Mapper here and get started.

Button Mapper: Remap your keys
Button Mapper: Remap your keys
Developer: flar2
Price: Free+

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were “transportable” and were carried in a shoulder bag. He saw the transition from AMPS to GSM, loved the Motorola StarTac, and got into Palm technologies in a big way. The arrival some years later of the original iPhone, and then the early Androids, awoke a new interest in mobile technology, and Chris has been writing about it since.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia’s most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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