back to article Sur-Pies! Google shocks world with sudden Android 9 Pixel push

Google today somewhat unexpectedly started rolling out to the masses its latest version of Android – dubbed Android 9 Pie. This major build of the mobile operating system is right now being released to Pixel devices as well as the Essential Phone. Google says other Android devices will get the update over the course of this …


  1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    "...helping you disconnect from your phone at the end of the day..."

    a.k.a. - memory leak.

  2. dbtx Bronze badge

    Set the brightness to how you like it, depending on your setting

    So my 'setting'... is that my surroundings, ambient light, etc.-- in the classical literary sense? I hope so... otherwise this is kind of like a weird way to say "have a user-settable setting which sets something in some way which is predictable or not depending on how much the current batch of smart features gets in the way and/or breaks outright"

    Now, back to trying to find a proper VNC server so I can still use SMS while my phoneinternet antenna box is out on the roof.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Set the brightness to how you like it, depending on your setting

      Generally ambient settings will be fine. However, there are possible improvements. For example, when I'm using my S5 to navigate I do need to ramp up the brightness manually. But there are other apps that can probably have the brightness dialled down even further. And I can imagine things like colour temperature (great if you've got an OLED screen) being set less rigidly than is currently the case (according to the clock).

      All in all maybe nice to have but you probably (and probably shouldn't) notice.

    2. Tomato Krill

      Re: Set the brightness to how you like it, depending on your setting

      Android Messages, no?

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        hadn't heard of that... but it's a Google thing, so probably not (no GApps). Just the same, SMS is just the obvious thing I'd then be able to do, not the only thing.

      2. David Paul Morgan

        Re: Set the brightness to how you like it, depending on your setting

        i really like 'messages'

        I was using hangounts until they stopped it doing SMS.

        Messages lets me txt from my PC, tablet & 'phone.

        very handy.

  3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge


    "...suggest a route to work during your morning commute."

    In my case, I could go one of three routes: the obvious 10 minutes choice, the much worse 30 minutes slower and longer route, or the insane 2 hours loop. No choice really, unless a fuel tanker is on fire.

    I wonder what fraction of workers actually have a choice of several comparable route options.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Survey...

      I'll second this even though I no longer drive. Back when I could still see to drive I used a satnav system to help plan routes to unfamiliar locations. One time for shits & giggles I asked it to plan my route to work. Work was a ~10 minute drive up a main thoroughfare, find a parking space, & ~2 minute walk through the building to my section. I was rather amused & disgusted when the satnav announced that I had a 30 minute drive via the freeway, estimated ~15 minutes to park in the parking garage (which my building didn't have), & a 5 minute time to walk into the building. It ignored the fact that my work was located on the same main street at the end of my block, was five stop lights away, & only had a smallish lot for the employees to park in. I decided to get rid of the stupid thing as an utter waste of electricity. =-/

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: Survey...

        Shadow, I'll second that. One of my more twisted amusements on medium to long journeys (250 to 2500 KM) is to use a tree carcass map or mere human memory to choose a route, then set the car nav going. The obsession some brands have with obscure dirt or nonexistent tracks in Queensland is fascinating. And yes, obligatory nitpicker, avoid unsealed roads is _always_ set along with choose fastest or easiest routes. So far I have yet to see any route that is better than what I pick using intuition or guesswork. OTOH, in bigger cities the same unit is usually very useful. YMMV :-)

        I digress. So is the new Pixel a bigger data slurper or is that even possible ?

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          Re: Survey...

          At Denarius... I switched to a paper based Thomas Brothers map for exactly your reasoning. Find the destination before I need to leave, plan a main & a backup route, write them both down on a 3x5 card, & use the card taped to the dash while driving. No stupid voices blathering on about alternate routes, faster paths, or more direct means of reaching my destination. (If I want to listen to The Voices then I'll start driving again now that I can do more damage!)

          To add insult to injury, the satnav often tried to tell me that I could take the metro train from the station across the street from my house (true) to the station just a block away from my work building (false), except that the next train station in that direction was a good ~20 minute drive too far. And my friends wondered why I went back to paper maps... *Sigh*

          As for getting back on topic, you must be new here. =-)p Hahahaha... Cheers!

          1. juice Bronze badge

            Re: Survey...

            Personally, I've generally found Google Maps to be pretty good - I travel to two or three cities a month for various things, and it's proven very useful for both getting me to the city and then navigating around via public transport.

            Except in Sofia, where public transport timetables don't seem to have been added to Google Maps. Still, I got a lot of walking done that weekend ;)

            One thing that's definitely improved over the last few years is the traffic-jam alerting; these days, I suspect it's more timely than the Highways Agency's system, and a big red mark on your route is a lot more useful than the standard "A1234 closed at junction 22b" roadside warnings which generally mean absolutely nothing to anyone who hasn't taken the time to memorise the whole of the UK's transport grid.

            Though admittedly, the first thing I do when configuring a new phone is to turn the vocal guidance off!

          2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Survey...

            And my friends wondered why I went back to paper maps... *Sigh

            Not having paper maps for various areas I'd want to visit, I've had to rely on Google Maps or Mapquest. First rule of thumb with online mapping is to immediately add 25% to the estimated travel time in order to get something closer to *actual* travel time. The other problem, which I have yet to find a solution to, is to print READABLE driving directions. Directions printed in 10-point type like they do is hard enough to read when sitting at your desk. Absolutely impossible to read when you're driving. I have *REPEATEDLY* asked the dimwitted Googleheads to make a large-type option (we're talking 22-24 point type here) so they can be quickly and safely read while driving, but I think that's well beyond their programming ability. And because of the way they format their page, you can't simply paste into a word-processor to fix it.

            So we expect these dimwits to make Android do what *WE* want? Yeah, not gonna happen.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Survey...

      Well I could use the bus to get to work which takes about forty minutes to complete the journey. That's the journey time by bus and doesn't include the wait for the damn thing to turn up. Or I can take the underground (metro/subway/tube etc.) and be there in twenty. Not much of a choice and I don't think Google are going to find a faster route.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Survey...

        A few years ago, in a home not so far away...

        The time taken to walk to the bus stop from home, wait for the bus, travel via bus to the CBD (Central Business District, "downtown" I think it is called in USA), get off the bus, walk to the next bus stop, wait for the next bus, travel to somewhere near my office, get off the bus, walk the rest of the way, was about an hour. The time taken to walk to my office from home, was about an hour. I usually walked, unless the weather was lousy.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Survey...

          I have a long-time satnav gripe relating to their insistence on trying to get me onto toll roads - even when I'm already on a perfectly good parallel or close trunk road already. This seems to be irrespective of settings like quickest vs nearest or even 'avoid toll roads'.

          I largely gave up on satnav years ago - dead tree 'n' ink for me, thanks - except for the tiny bit at the end of the journey, if I'm unfamiliar with it. If I must use it, I have found Navigator generally excellent with the free maps of Europe - loaded locally, so there's issue with connectivity.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Survey...

            OpenStreetMaps, with all of the countries maps downloaded onto my phone, works fine for me. One of these days I may actually need a GPS fix, which also works with those maps. Then again I'm a "glance at the map before heading out" kinda guy.

        2. juice Bronze badge

          Re: Survey...

          > onefang: bus routes

          Back when I used to work at a technology park, there was one bus which trundled between the local town and the park. Said bus route had two large loops along the way, to service some large housing estates.

          The bad thing about this was that it meant the average journey time was about 40 minutes. The good thing was that if you missed the bus, you could start walking back to town in a straight line and have a reasonable chance of catching it back up at the end of the first loop ;)

          Ironically, having moved back to the big lights, things haven't changed - the quickest way to get home is to walk down to the main bus station and hop aboard there. Or for bonus comedy points, I can wave my bus-pass to get on one bus, hop off at the start of it's loop, walk down the hill and then catch the bus *before* the one I was just riding.

          Time travel and UK bus schedules. It's all a bit wibbly-wobbly...

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Survey...

      Ugh. Google Navigation has already tried to kill me by INSISTING on taking I-4, which is the pretty deadly local interstate.

      I specifically selected a route avoiding it and set off... only to have it go "faster route detected" and switch back. Several times.

      I had to pull over and turn off cell data to stop it.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Survey...

        I specifically selected a route avoiding it and set off... only to have it go "faster route detected" and switch back. Several times.

        Ah, but we derive such entertainment by taking a different road when we know there's an area we want to bypass, and seeing how many times it has to say "recalculating". We can just imagine the system inside the GPS getting more and more irritated with us (yes, we're well aware it's way less sentient than Hatsune Miku, but it's family entertainment in the car).

        1. tclulow

          Re: Survey...

          I love Google maps as a Sat-nav. It's good /and/ entertaining. Half way through France with its terrible pronunciation of French names, switch phone to French. Half-an-hour or so of two different voices (one French accent, one English) spouting a magnificent version of "lets parlez français" till it settles down to French. I assume some cache confusion, or delay in downloading the voices. Relieves the long trek across France.

    4. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Survey...

      I have two routes I can take out of the village towards work, a choice of two options where they join back up and, on one of the options there, a choice of going through an estate (shorter but only 30mph) or down the side of it at 40mph. So a genuine 5 options (and actually lots more once in town). They're all around 5-6 miles and 10-15 minutes.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Survey...

      I wonder what fraction of workers actually have a choice of several comparable route options.

      (I'm going to get downvoted a lot for this...) - not a lot, but some.. commute is Stratford (London) -> St Pauls/Blackfriars area

      * Tube, central line to St Pauls, walk

      * Tube, central line to Mile End, District to Blackfriars, walk

      * Tube, jubilee to London Bridge, walk

      * Tube, jubilee to West Ham, Hammersmith & City to Barbican, walk

      * High speed to St Pancras, Thameslink to City Thameslink, walk

      * Train to Liverpool St, walk

      * Train to Liverpool St, Circle to Farringdon, walk

      * Train to Liverpool St, bus

      * DLR to Poplar, DLR to Bank, walk

      * Walk

      If there are no problems, you take the quickest route - but this is London, there are always problems (not least the lack of air on the central line), so a planner which actively reads delays and tells me which of the 7 ways between 25 and 55 minutes duration is the way home tonight. Sometimes you just try and get closer to the destination and see whats working in 20 minutes time...

      1. Lewis Burgess

        Re: Survey...

        Surely CityMapper is a better option than Google Maps for this?

    6. Tomato Krill

      Re: Survey...

      Well I think it's a given that most people know their way to work and all things being equal it is the quickest/easiest route for them, which doesn't change.

      The point of this though is to deal with the outliers, and get you to work quicker on those days where something happens - traffic, closure, raptor invasion etc.

      It's actually pretty handy, assuming it can accurately include public transport as well as roads to cover both types of commute - you want to stand at a closed station like an idiot because you 'already know' the quickest route?

    7. Chands

      Re: Survey...

      I do .. and they can change en-route. I have about 4 viable routes to work, roughly equidistant. It would be nice to have options on Google Maps Sat Nav, to have priorities not only on Time, but Fuel and Distance.

    8. Lewis Burgess

      Re: Survey...

      I know my way to work very well, but I can take 3 main routes which all roughly take the same amount of time but have many more little alternative tweaks. The traffic can vary so massively from day to day, a 35 minute journey on a Wednesday could easily be a 60 minute journey on a Thursday, just 'because'. So, I ALWAYS set a route to work to show traffic conditions and then use my own knowledge of country lanes to pick the best option based on where traffic is worst.

      Apple Maps showing an over-view of the whole journey that auto zooms in to the map as the journey progresses is ideal. I don't need turn by turn, just traffic indications.

      So, anything which does this is a good thing.

    9. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Survey...

      It would be nice if it could cope with multi-mode commutes. i.e. drive to station, get train, then get tube. All driving is OK, all public transport is OK but a combination of the two never works.

    10. MrBanana

      Re: Survey...

      I'm surprised no one has mentioned waze - it's much more focussed on the driving experience than Google Maps. The community call in of hazards ahead works well to alert you of weather, traffic and other "things to be aware of" (eg lurking boys in blue). It's prediction of trip time is usually within a few minutes, even on a journey of hundreds of km. And it will re-route you around road closures and very bad traffic conditions - saved me a few times when the M25 gets randomly shut in the wee hours with no hint of a diversion route.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Survey...

        I have three or four distinct routes I could take to work, all take about the same time.

        More, when you take in other alterations over short sections.

        Google maps does a good job at directing me onto the least congested.

        The only thing it doesn't realise is that I have cloned the access token for the back entrance to the business park, which cuts a good 10mins off of my 1h commute which is only accessible through one of the main routes....

      2. TWB

        Re: Waze

        I've recently been using Waze, I tired it originally on a 3G phone and found it to be useless but with a 4G phone much better (YMMV - a friend who recommended it said he had not trouble with it on 3G)

        I've not been able to contribute much back though as I don't like touching the screen while driving - too distracting. I guess it is monitoring my speed, location and progress though.

        I wonder when and how it is going to be monetized. Quite like it though so far.

  4. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

    that's what they built all the preceding Androids for as well...

    1. mics39

      Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

      That’s the Digital Wellbeing for you: if you don’t click on enough ads to meet the quota, Pie will do it for you.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

      "We’ve built Android 9 to learn fromspy on you—and work betterthink for you—the more you use it,"

      1. Chands

        Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

        Spying implies illicit use. I find it laudible that people want a better personal service but are unwilling to tell google what your preferences are.

        Waiter : "ready to order"

        Dumbass: "yep"

        Waiter : "what would you like"

        Dumbass : "lol, I ain't telling you, that's private !!!!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

          Do you mean laudibile (i.e. an action, idea, or aim deserving praise and commendation) or laughable.

          Because at the moment your comment is the latter rather than the former.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

          "Spying implies illicit use."

          If data is being collected about me without my knowledge and consent, then I'm being spied on regardless of what that data is used for.

          "I find it laudible that people want a better personal service but are unwilling to tell google what your preferences are."

          I think you're talking about two different groups of people. I absolutely don't want "personal service" in this sense, and I am entirely opposed to companies spying on me.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

      Learning from me? Can it learn to shut off all the worthless shit I don't want or need? Can it learn I would like to UNINSTALL some (or many) of those apps, or barring that at least pretend they aren't there? Can it learn that if I have an app disabled *or* marked to not auto-update to not show it in my list of available updates? Can it learn that all apps are banned from repeatedly checking for updates every five minutes, like some OCD child, unless I have explicitly given them permission to do so? Can it learn that if I have decided some app has no business asking for particular permissions the OS should lie to the app and let it believe it does?

      Can it learn that, if I need *root* access in order to do certain things, I should have that readily available without having to apply for a Papal Dispensation to unlock my device? Sure, I'd accept (and expect) elevated privileges should require a specific command to enable them; maybe we could come up with a silly-sounding command to enable the elevted level, a made-up word like "sudo" could work...

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: "We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—

        Wot jelabarre59 said. Times quite a lot

  5. FrankAlphaXII Silver badge

    I don't see it

    So when exactly are they supposed to be rolling this out? I'm on a Pixel and on Project Fi but it doesn't show anything new when I check for updates. You'd figure being on Google's MVNO and their phone would probably mean getting it very quickly, but apparently not.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: I don't see it

      Come on sir, I understand the point, but you're a techie!

      You can always flash the system images yourself!

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I don't see it

      Pie will come to your Pixel in the next couple of weeks without your intervention. If you want Pie now, you need to opt into the Android Beta Program to get an OTA update:

      There's also a side loading method for Pixel phones if you don't mind a bit of command line.

    3. Chands

      Re: I don't see it

      mine updated this morning :E

      However, it was only a 47MB update, which only took about 10 mins, since was on the beta and have had P beta for a while.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't see it

      Mine updated last night, minutes after it was released.

      ProjectFI is basically like being locked into a network, only Google knows how long you must wait. Here in Europe, anyone with a brain is SIM-FREE and network agnostic.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "the ability to swipe up to see an overview of the device."

    WTF does this mean? What is "an overview of the device"??

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      In Modern-Era-ese, that's the word for "recent app switcher" xD

      Seems that names themselves are being twisted around into becoming Modern Flat User Interfaces, redux.

  7. jonathan keith


    Can all of the irritating Clippy 2.0 bullshit be turned off?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: So...

      Yes. The Android 4.0 source code tree is always available, and there's also Replicant and postmarketOS.

  8. Sampler


    there doesn't seem to be a single thing in the list that's appealing, sans the "faster and more stable" that they promise on every os update from any company and I've yet to see one that actually was...

  9. ThatOne Bronze badge

    Compelling, isn't it?

    So, they promise to prioritize battery power to display ads, leave the brightness as you've set it, monitor your actions to round off your marketing profile, show you ads for other apps when there is any excuse, and to use any text you might select to display contextual ads. Wow.

    I think I might buy me a new phone just to get a slice of that pie...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Compelling, isn't it?

      And with all the predicting, monitoring, fetching ads data, I wonder if that battery prioritization isn't going to be heavily in favour of the app that does all that "management".

      In any case, I don't see battery life improving with this pie.


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