GOOGLE SEEMS set to cripple automation apps in the forthcoming Android Q as part of a drive to improve privacy.
The Android Developers site confirms that Android Q won't let apps turn WiFi on and off without user intervention, rendering any routines that require it to simply stop working.
The automation of tasks in Android is big business, with the simple IFTTT, for example, right up to more complex apps like Tasker all offering features to turn WiFi on and off under specific circumstances such as "turn on WiFi when I get home" or "turn off WiFi when it's raining".
Google argues that the issue is that malware can easily use the feature for mischief and its, therefore, best to restrict it to manual triggering in the menu.
However, the move is likely to infuriate both the users and developers of apps like Automateit, Atooma and Macrodroid.
The toggling of WiFi can be incredibly useful for genuine purposes - it saves battery if you're away from a hotspot, it can even identify who is at home and who is out to trigger smart home tasks, and losing it will be a big wrench.
Android Q will feature a new Settings Panel which will offer a certain amount of automation to the WiFi process, but in general, manually turning it on and off is going to be the default from now on.
In some dark corners of the internet, it has been speculated that Google's own Home app will have a workaround within it, which will make it the "only game in town" and drive up usage. That said, at present, it doesn't work in Google Home either.
Whether or not its that cynical is debatable, and it's important to remember that this is still a preview; it's perfectly reasonable to assume that Google will have this ironed out by the time the stable releases are available to OEMs who could easily decide to override it in their own ROMs anyway. But equally, it's possible it won't.
Heck, at the moment, even the Home app doesn't understand the change - it crashes under Android Q if you try and trigger the wifi because it currently doesn't have access to that API. μ
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