The Share menu is one of Android’s best features, but for years, it’s been plagued by a design that’s just plain slow. The problem with Android’s clunky share menu stemmed from Android 6 Marshmallow when Google introduced Direct Share, a feature that allows users to directly share content to the relevant part of an app. When a user shares any item in an older Android version, the system starts building a list of shareable targets on-demand. If the user has hundreds of apps installed, many of which may have applicable direct share targets, then the loading speed of the share menu could suffer. Thankfully, Android 10 replaces Direct Share with the new Sharing Shortcuts API and deranks apps in the Share menu that still use the older APIs. The new API lets apps publish their direct share targets in advance, so the share menu no longer has to reactively pull share targets. As a result, when the user goes to share any item in Android 10, the share sheet should appear much faster than before.
Ask anyone who’s on Android 10 and they’ll say the share sheet speed has been significantly improved. There’s little doubt that it’s faster, but how much faster is it in reality? With each new Android release, Google makes a bunch of under-the-hood tweaks that promise to speed up parts of the OS, but it’s rare we get to see such improvements get quantified. At the Android Dev Summit this past week, Artur Tsurkan, a Product Manager at Google, shared a graph that compares the loading performance of the Share UI between Android 9 Pie and Android 10. The graph shows the percentage of overall users (in this study) who can see the share sheet versus the time it took for the share sheet to become visible. The users are divided into two groups: those running Android 9 Pie and those running Android 10. We don’t know how Google collected this data or what the sample size is, but we assume this data was collected as part of an internal study to quantify the share sheet improvements in Android 10.
The results are certainly impressive. 27 milliseconds after initiating the share action on a file, 50% of Android 10 users can see the share UI in comparison to only 9% of Android 9 Pie users. At the 103 millisecond mark, nearly every Android 10 user can see the share UI versus nearly half of all Android 9 Pie users. Of course, how fast you can see the UI depends on multiple factors including how many apps you have installed, what kind of content you’re sharing, how many applicable share targets are available, and the speed of animations on your device, but this graph shows that the vast majority of people will see an improvement in the share sheet loading speed in Android 10.
You can watch the full talk, titled “Supercharge Sharing to your App” on YouTube down below.
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