Google has offered some rudimentary backup functionality in Android since the 2.0 days, but it improved backup functionality in 6.0 Marshmallow. However, you still have to trust that the Google Drive backups are happening as there are no user-facing controls. That's going to change in a future version of Android, though.
This news comes from Google itself in an issue tracker thread, and for once it wasn't the product of an internet mob adding hundreds of stars. Someone posted that Android ought to have the option to manually start a backup rather than trusting the process to happen when the device is plugged in. A Googler said the issue had been passed to the dev team for consideration the very next day. Several days after that, Google said it would be considered for a future Android release. A few more days and the issue was closed with the message "The requested feature will be available in a future release."
So, Android Q (or maybe even 9.1) should have an option to initiate a backup of your data to Google Drive. The thread does not promise any other new features, so the usefulness will still depend on developers enabling the backup flag. You should at least be able to reliably save your device settings, SMS, and call history via the Drive app.
- Issue Tracker