Back in May, we discovered the first signs of a new feature in Android Q Beta 3, code-named “Routines”. Strings in the SettingsIntelligence APK showed that the feature would be presented to users as “Rules”, but it wasn’t live for any Pixel user. Rules are Google’s take on Bixby Routines, and much of the same functionality can also be found in Google Assistant Routines. In July, Mishaal was able to fully activate the feature on a Google Pixel 2 XL running Android Q Beta 5, but the feature still hadn’t rolled out. At that time, we thought that the feature would be shown off as part of the Google Pixel 4’s launch Android 10 software, as it was a bit too late for Google to add the feature in the first stable Android 10 release. However, the Pixel 4’s launch came and went last week, and we noted that Rules was not present on the launch software, which was strange as the feature had been in development for at least five months already.
Rules is an Android 10 feature that helps “automate changes that you regularly make in Settings,” according to Google. It doesn’t match dedicated automation apps such as Tasker and Automate by a long shot in terms of functionality, but it offers useful basic functionality, nonetheless. Google also isn’t the first to offer this feature in an Android phone as Samsung and LG also have similar phones in their custom user interfaces. Google’s Rules feature is specifically designed to let users change the sound mode to Ring, Vibrate, Silence, or Do Not Disturb when a) they either connect to a Wi-Fi network of their choice or b) they are near a location they have selected on a map. Users can silence the phone when reaching college, for instance, and then set it to the Ring mode as soon as they connect back to their home Wi-Fi network.
Now, Google appears to have started rolling out the “Rules” feature to a select group of Google Pixel users on Android 10. Reddit user /u/NeXt3D3 reported that he saw the new setting under the System tab of the Settings app on his Pixel 2 XL. Four other users in the Reddit thread have also reported getting the feature on their Pixels. For now, it doesn’t seem to be a widespread release as many users still haven’t received the feature yet – Google is, as expected, doing a staged rollout. Regardless, it’s good to see the functionality being separated from Google Assistant and offered as a standalone feature. It seems likely that Rules will be a Pixel-exclusive feature for now.
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