Android 12’s new recent URL sharing feature makes it easy to copy links

Google recently rolled out Android 12 beta 3 with a host of changes and improvements over the previous beta. While Google mentioned all of the significant user changes included in the third beta in its blog post, the company didn’t mention one rather useful feature in its announcement: recent URL sharing. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at this feature and briefly explain how it works.

Android 12’s new URL sharing feature lets you quickly copy links from the recent apps overview. Back in the days of the first beta 3 rollout, we weren’t sure how it worked since Google hadn’t officially announced the feature. But the company has now shared developer documentation, which highlights this cool new feature.

According to the documentation, the recent URL sharing feature can be enabled by any application that provides a web UI and overrides the onProvideAssistContent method of the Activity class. This method is used to provide the Assistant application with structured information about the current foreground content. Essentially, apps can tell the assistant that the current foreground content is loaded from a specific web page. And in Android 12, this URL is pulled and displayed to the user, making it easy for them to copy it from the recent apps preview.

As you can see in the attached screenshots, the URL appears as an icon in the top right corner of the app map in the recent apps preview. You can tap on it to see the full URL, then copy or share it right from the recent apps preview. Tapping the button also brings up contact suggestions at the bottom to help you share the URL from the same screen.

Currently, if you want to copy a link from Google Chrome and share it with a friend, you need to tap the address bar, then the Copy button, switch to the email app you want, and then paste the URL. there before you hit send. You can also tap the address bar, then tap the Share button, select the app you want to share the link on from the share sheet, and then select the contact you want to share it with. Either way, it’s a pretty lengthy process.

The recent URL sharing feature aims to simplify this to a great extent by letting you swipe up to open recent apps preview and then copy or share the link right from the same screen.

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