Today's Android P beta may give users a new way to switch between apps, but sometimes you really don't need to jump all the way in and have access to an app's full functionality, when the use of a much more targeted subset of those features would suffice. Google's been working to overhaul the way Android lets apps work like this, sharing elements of their interfaces within other apps. Now we're learning more about how this mode will operate, as Google fills us in on app Slices.

Slices enable apps to share their functionality across the platform, in the form of screen elements that can be embedded in other apps. Maybe the most prominent way you'll see Android take advantage of Slices is through search, which will be able to offer shortcuts to app functionality directly within your results.

Right now, searching for an app on your phone will return a link to the app itself — it's what you're looking for, but doesn't go out of its way to think ahead about what you might be using the app for. That's where Slices step in, expanding from that simple app link to offer additional information from, and shortcuts to content and features within the app in question.

That could mean seeing trip-time estimates and prices for Lyft rides to common destinations, or an image set from Photos that's germane to your query. And if users like what they see in Slices, they can follow them into the broader app for even more options.

Early access to Slices begins next month. Because support for Slices is integrated with Android Jetpack, device compatibility will be incredibly broad, covering everything from Android 4.4 on up.