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Android Q beta 3: Bubbles, Live Caption, privacy settings and other exciting features

Android Q looks better and better with each update.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google on Tuesday detailed more features and services coming to Android Q during the opening keynote at Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference. There's a new Live Caption feature that looks super impressive, 

Google first launched the Android Q beta program for Pixel phones in March, followed by the second beta in April, and now, right on schedule, the third beta is on its way. Naturally, each new beta includes bug fixes, but there are also new features included in each update. For example, the second beta introduced us to a new feature -- Bubbles -- that will change the way you interact with notifications on your Android device. 

If you're interested in helping Google test Android Q, you can sign up right now. Just keep in mind that this is still a beta release, and there are bugs. Some apps won't work, and it's possible you could lose photos or other important data.

Now playing: Watch this: Android Q preview: What's new in beta?
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Because this is a beta, it's entirely possible that features will change or be removed altogether. We will update this post as needed throughout the beta program.

Bubbles

android-q-bubbles
Google

Do you still use Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads feature? If so, then you're going to love Android Q's new Bubbles feature. Bubbles work just like Chat Heads, with a circular notification floating above whatever is on your screen. Google wants developers to be mindful of what types of apps use Bubbles simply because a stream of notifications that show up on your screen, regardless of what you're doing, would get real annoying real fast.

I installed the second beta but have yet to see a Bubble pop-up quite yet. Hopefully Google will begin updating its core apps to demonstrate Bubbles for beta participants. 

Wi-Fi and QR Codes

qr-code-wifi-sharing-android-q
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Sharing your Wi-Fi network password with friends or asking for theirs can be awkward. Android Q has a new feature that lets you create a QR code for your Wi-Fi network, or scan a QR code to join a Wi-Fi network, directly in the device's Wi-Fi settings.

Undo app removal

undo-app-homescreen-removal
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Ever accidentally remove an app from your home screen, and then realize you can't remember which app was there? I have.

With Android Q, you have a few seconds after an app has been removed to undo the change. You'll find the undo button along the bottom of the screen. Press it and bam, the app is back where it belongs.

Location control

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android is finally getting more granular control over how an app can use location information. Currently, you can give an app access to your location either all the time or not all. With Android Q, you will gain the option of letting an app access your location information only while you're actively using the app.

Not only is this a privacy matter, but it surely helps save on battery life.

Privacy settings

android-q-privacy-setting
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With Android Q, there's now a dedicated Privacy section in the settings app. Opening it will reveal the various permissions apps can request for things like calendar, location, camera, contacts and microphone.

Android has lacked a clear-cut way to view what apps have access to what data on your device. The new section makes it easy to discover and revoke permissions for specific apps.

Better notification controls

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When you long-press an alert, you're now given a few different options: Block, "Show silently" and "Keep alerting."

This is a small but important feature because you no longer have to dig into the Settings app to figure out how to tailor an app's alerts. You simply long-press, pick an option and you're done.

Live Caption

Google's Live Caption feature in action. 

Google

One way to make Android more accessible, Google developed Live Caption. The feature will live caption any video that's being played, without a data connection. It's not quite ready for beta 3, but it's too good not to get excited about already. 

Originally published March 14.
Update, May 7: Adds new information about the current beta release.