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Now that Android 11's codebase has been released, folks have started digging through looking for smaller changes that may have gone unnoticed — or which hide future as-yet-unimplemented features. One small but potentially useful tweak has been spotted: Android 11 expands the utility of the new "firm" or "deep" press feature on the Pixel 4 and later to let you expand bundled notifications.
In the second Pixel Feature Drop, Google added "Deep Press" support to make it simpler to open the context menu in Pixel Launcher, Photos, and Drive. (You can do a force press as well as a long press.)
Android 11 extends this to expanding notifications.https://t.co/Nk358oMRxr
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) September 9, 2020
First spotted by XDA Developers' Mishaal Rahman, we can confirm the feature was also present in at least some of the later Beta releases.
In case you're unfamiliar, the "firm" or "deep" press is a feature that landed with the second Pixel Feature Drop for Google's Pixel 4, and it works by essentially analyzing the degree of finger "smoosh" via the magic of machine learning to determine if you're pressing harder. It's pretty cool, but it's not especially useful most of the time.
The change is simple: Now, those firm/deep presses can expand bundled notifications, rather than simply triggering the long-press for notification channel management — a system which was itself also tweaked in Android 11. I've tested the feature as working on the Pixel 4 and 4a on Android 11, presumably the only Pixel phones with this "firm" or "deep" press support
It's a small tweak, but a useful one — though, if we're honest, it could be more consistent and more useful. Right now, you get two different results based on whether the notification you're interacting with is a bundle or not. If it's a bundle, it expands, but if it's not, you get the same notification channel management options. That's not very intuitive, especially considering the "firm" press is something you could trigger accidentally. Furthermore, expanding bundles is as simple as dragging down or tapping the arrow in the corner, so this doesn't save you time — if anything, it wastes it.
Hopefully, Google considers expanding the "firm" press to expand all notification types later, rather than just bundles, which is derpy.