Android 11 came with a shutdown menu that integrated Google Pay and home automation controls, but otherwise the lock screen was almost unchanged, but it could have been very different. New footage obtained by the Android Authority shows us that Google was planning a major lock screen revolution that ultimately didn’t materialize.
Codenamed Project Smartspace, it would be something like the full-screen “At a Glance” widget with a lot more information and integrations. Or, if we look back, it would have been something like Google Now’s spiritual heir. It didn’t come with Android 11 or Android 12, but at least now we know what it was.
The Google Now of the future that never was
Those more veteran of the place will remember Google Now, famous for showing you maps relevant to the current situation, whether it’s where you parked the car, if it’s going to rain or if your flight has been delayed. A little ahead of its time, Google ended up doing what Google does: going around in circles to end up shutting it down. Google Now moved to the mobile home button with Now on Tap, but that and launcher integration ended up being replaced by Assistant and Discover.
Since then, Google has integrated small chunks of what used to be Google Now into different sections. Articles are in Discover, some of your maps are in Assistant Day View, information is displayed in the At-a-Glance widget, and home automation controls are in the power menu, quick settings, or Google Home app .
The old Google Now, may he rest in peace
In 2019, Google was still considering the idea, according to images obtained by Android Authority which show us a concept of a lock screen which would be something like a smart control panel, which would integrate the relevant options for the current moment, according to where you are, what time it is or other factors. Yes, like Google Now.
In the screenshots we can see that its initial appearance would be modest, being simply a button that shows the current “routine”. We see some examples of special situations such as Good night, Helmet, At the station or In a supermarket. Press this button to display the full control panel with all relevant options.
The grace of the matter is in what happens next, as the available buttons vary depending on the specific situation. For example, at night, the panel shows you relevant options like setting the alarm, playing soothing sounds, adjusting the thermostat, or turning off the lights. When connecting headphones, we are suggested to play Spotify songs, podcasts or make calls with applications such as WhatsApp.
This interface would be integrated into both the lock screen and the Always On Display, but it never made it past the prototype stage. Instead, the shutdown screen adopted home automation controls in Android 11 (and stopped doing so in Android 12).
Since then, Google seems to be enhancing the ‘At a Glance’ widget with more information, like bedtime, physical activity and other news, but still in widget form and much more minimalistic than that original concept. . It could have been and it wasn’t.
Through | Android Authority