Just as the Samsung Galaxy S8 was roasted for its Bixby button, so too must we address the squeeze feature on Google’s Pixel 2. The hardware comes from the HTC U11, the first place where HTC implemented “Edge Sense” with open-ended functionality. While the edge squeeze feature on the Pixel 2 remains a shortcut, it’s currently restricted to Google Assistant – and no other connections are enabled.
The Active Edge settings in the Google Pixel 2 include several toggles. There’s a toggle for Squeeze for Assistant – “to talk to your Assistant, quickly squeeze the bottom half of your phone, then release.” Another toggle switches squeeze functionality on/off while the device’s display is off.
Another toggle in Active Edge settings on the Pixel 2 is “Squeeze for Silence.” This toggle switches on the Active Edge ability to silence incoming calls. There’s also a row of 9 dots that allow the user to adjust squeeze sensitivity, from Light squeeze to Firm squeeze.
At the moment, that’s it for settings. There isn’t a whole lot this device is willing to allow its edge squeeze ability to do.
There were at least a couple of reasons why the Galaxy S8’s Bixby Button wasn’t very well received at first. All the way back in late August, our own Brittany Roston wrote about how the Bixby button was the bane of her existence. The button is in a place that’s very easy to press accidentally – that’s one big reason why it wasn’t given a total thumbs up.
The Bixby Button was not at first capable of being turned off. It was on and active at all times, connected to Bixby. That issue is resolved at the start with the Pixel 2’s Active Edge – the squeeze doesn’t need to do anything, if you’re not a fan. The other issue with the Galaxy S8’s button was that not every person wanted to use Bixby – that too is solved by Google’s off-toggle.
Samsung’s most recent move was to allow the off-toggle – but they didn’t in turn allow the button to map to other button-friendly functions. In this way, Samsung’s essentially said “use Bixby or you get a button that does nothing.”
The positive part about Google’s HTC-made Active Edge is that users aren’t going to notice this feature at all when it’s turned off. The edge can still be squeezed, but it’s nothing like a button, just sitting there, staring at you, silently judging you for its deactivation.
The smart thing to do for the massive community of Pixel-friendly developers would be to open the feature up to additional 3rd-party functionality. If Google wanted to do this, that’d be just super duper. But even if they don’t, at least I don’t have to feel that button’s tiny, terrible judging eyes, piercing my soul.