The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a feature called Active Edge that Google borrowed from the HTC U11. Squeeze the sides of the phone and you can launch Google Assistant. Or squeeze when a call is incoming and you can silence the phone.
And… that’s it. That’s all Active Edge does for now. It’s possible Google could eventually let you do more, but at launch Active Edge does two things… unless you install a third-party app.
While Google doesn’t officially let you assign any different actions to Active Edge, there’s an app called Button Mapper that can figure out when you’ve squeeze the phone and quickly apply a different action.
For example, Button Mapper can let you squeeze the phone to go to the home screen, go to the last used app, open the Recents menu, toggle the flashlight, mute the phone, take a screenshot, or skip tracks while listening to music, among other things.
The app is available as a free download from the Play Store, although some features require an in-app purchase. But Active Edge hijacking isn’t one of those features.
It is, however, one that requires a little work on your part to use. You’ll need to enable developer mode on your phone, connect it to a PC, and run an adb command to grant the app permission to read system logs so that it can tell when you’ve squeezed the phone and divert the action so that instead of launching Google Assistant, it does something else.
If you’re looking for something that doesn’t feel so much like a workaround, Button Mapper also lets you change what happens when you press the volume up or down buttons and it doesn’t require any hacks to do that.