Google Pixel devices may learn your routines, change your settings w/ ‘Rules’

With as smart as our phones have become over the past 10 years, there are certain things we would expect them to already do automatically, like change your ringer volume in certain places. Power users have been able to do this using third-party apps like Tasker for quite some time, but Google may be making Android automation easier for Pixel users with new “Rules.”

Tasker and its brethren are all capable of making Android phones do incredible things routinely based on rules you can specify. The problem with these kinds of apps is that the average user may be overwhelmed by the number of options.

It’s been discovered, via XDA-Developers, that Google is developing a simplified way to automate certain aspects of Android on Pixel phones, through a new setting called “Rules.” The ability to create Rules was found in the Settings Suggestions app on Pixel phones on the Android Q beta.

Rules help automate changes that you regularly make in Settings, such as switching your phone to silent whenever you get to work.

Even on the latest Android Q Beta, Rules aren’t available to try out, but we can take some decent guesses on how they’ll work based on other strings in the Settings Suggestions app. It seems that in its current state, Rules can trigger based on your location or changes to your WiFi network.

<string name=”add_routine”>Add rule</string>

<string name=”add_location_routine”>Add Location rule</string>

<string name=”add_routine_this_location”>Turn on the following at this location:</string>

<string name=”add_wifi_routine”>Add Wi-Fi rule</string>

<string name=”add_routine_this_network”>Turn on the following when connected to this network:</string>

As of now, it appears that Rules will only be able to adjust your ringer and Do Not Disturb settings, though this could expand to other features in the future.

<string name=”routine_action_dnd”>Turn on Do Not Disturb</string>

<string name=”routine_action_normal”>Set phone to ring</string>

<string name=”routine_action_silent”>Silence phone</string>

<string name=”routine_action_vibrate”>Vibrate phone</string>

When one of the Rules you’ve set up is triggered, you’ll receive a notification on your device, informing you of which Rule was activated and why.

<string name=”notification_text_rule_applied_location_enter_prefix”>Arrived at</string>

<string name=”notification_text_rule_applied_location_exit_prefix”>Left</string>

<string name=”notification_text_rule_applied_wifi_enter_prefix”>Connected to</string>

<string name=”notification_text_rule_applied_wifi_exit_prefix”>Disconnected from</string>

While the ability to set up Rules and routines like these without a third-party Android app is convenient, that alone isn’t enough to make it more user-friendly for the average Pixel owner. It’s planned for your Pixel to understand your routines and suggest new Rules. For example, if you regularly switch to Do Not Disturb when connecting to a certain WiFi network, your Pixel will detect that and suggest that you create a rule.

<string name=”permission_dialog_description”>”%s uses your location and calendar to provide personalized suggestions based on your routines.
If you don’t allow location and calendar permissions, you may still receive other suggestions.”</string>

<string name=”notification_text_wifi_rule_detected_prefix”>Set up a rule for</string>

<string name=”notification_title_dnd_wifi_rule_detected”>Turn on Do Not Disturb each time?</string>

<string name=”notification_title_normal_wifi_rule_detected”>Always ring when connected?</string>

It’s unknown if Rules will ever come to non-Pixel Android phones, as the Settings Suggestions app that these Rules strings were found in is a Pixel-exclusive. Google has a tendency to develop certain features for Pixel phones first, before making them more widely available later on.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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