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We still don't know why Android 11 Beta 1 seems to have started rolling out to some folks before even the postponed Beta Launch Show, but features in the new version of Android have already been spotted, including some new options for the Pixel Launcher's app suggestions feature. And when Beta 1 lands, it looks like you'll even be able to set app suggestions to replace your persistent bottom row of apps in the Pixel Launcher.
If you have a Pixel and you didn't immediately replace the launcher when you got it, then you should be familiar with app suggestions, which appear on both the top of the app drawer and the bottom of the multitasking/recents/overview interface (whatever you want to call it) — though that last bit was removed in Android 11 DP3. They're quick shortcuts to apps Google thinks you need to use right now, and they're not always just based on which you use most often, it seems to take into account other things like time of day, too. It's a pretty intelligent feature.
Left: Old suggestion settings in DP4 — pretty barebones. Right: Suggestion settings in Beta 1.
First spotted by @MishaalRahman, Android 11 Beta 1 adds quite a few new options and visuals to the Home settings -> Suggestions section of the Pixel Launcher. Both of the previous options are still basically present, but they've been tweaked. "Overview selection" controls the ability to long-press on images and text in other apps in recents/multitasking menu and do things like copy it, and that's still there. But the previously vague "Apps" toggle has had its functionality broken out and expanded. Now you can individually configure whether app suggestions appear in the app drawer, plus a new feature that can let you add them to your home screen, replacing the persistent bottom row of apps. An option to block specific apps from appearing in suggestions is also present.
App suggestions on the Pixel Launcher home screen.
We aren't quite sure how the new home screen app suggestions will work in practice, but the description you get via the overlay above is straightforward: The persistent bottom row of apps in the Pixel Launcher will be replaced by the app suggestions from the top row of the app drawer. Your previous apps will be moved up into the home screen itself.
We assume it will be the same dynamically changing list of apps you get in the app drawer, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Pixel Launcher's app drawer pull-out animation was tweaked to accommodate that row's persistence.
If and when we get access to Android 11 Beta 1 and we get a chance to play with the new feature, we'll let you know how it works in more detail.