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Google explains how it makes personalized battery life predictions

Google explains how it's using its machine learning skills to give better battery life predictions on Pixel and Nexus devices.

Published onNovember 23, 2017


Battery life on modern smartphones is getting better, but overall, battery technology hasn’t kept up with the advancement of other components such as displays and processors. Most of us still need to charge our devices every night, and, in some cases, getting through a full day requires a bit of planning ahead.

Google has made the process a little simpler with the recent introduction of smart battery stats that estimate your remaining battery life based on patterns in your smartphone usage.

The feature appears to have rolled out last month, when Google uploaded Device Health Services, a system app, to the Play Store. Yesterday, a Project Manager with Google’s New York office, took to the Pixel product forums to explain how smart battery life prediction works.

Previously, Google would use simple assumptions to estimate your battery life. If you used 10% of your battery in the first hour of usage, it would then assume you’ll use 10% every hour. This process had little nuance and because of that, battery estimates always felt a little off.

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Google is now tweaking that process with a little bit of machine learning. It now builds a model of your past usage and then uses it to predict your future usage. It takes a look at your usage patterns on similar days and times to determine how much battery you’ll be using the rest of the day. If you always watch Netflix or listen to a podcast on the ride home, it now knows to expect that and can adjust its estimated battery life accordingly.

In addition to giving you an estimation of how much battery time you have left, Google is showing you too. If you open up the battery graph, you’ll see the predicted battery life usage for the rest of the day. You can see when Google predicts you’ll be using your phone more as the line drops more dramatically.

The feature works for us on the Pixel 2 and Nexus 6P, both running Android 8.1 DP.

This is a subtle change, but it might make the difference between running out of battery at the worst possible moment and making it to a charger in the nick of time.

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