The latest beta of the Google app is rolling out this afternoon with a handful of developments related to the Pixel Stand wireless charging accessory that could launch alongside the Pixel 3. Namely, we have another glimpse of the interface and its functionality.
About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Version 8.21 features an animation showing a user speaking to Google Assistant and displaying results while the device is still locked. The secure state is evident by the padlock icon at the bottom of the screen, while the device appears to be always listening with no user interaction of the display required. We also found an interesting greeting prefaced with “aodmic” or always-on display (AOD) mic.
<string name=”aodmic_greeting”>Hi, how can I help?</string>
Earlier versions of the app established how locked devices on a Pixel Stand are able to “use your personal info to make suggestions, answer questions, and take actions.” In fact, the animation specifically shows a person pulling up a Calendar event.
<string name=”trusted_dock_message”>Your Assistant can use your personal info to make suggestions, answer questions, and take actions for you when your phone is locked and on your Pixel Stand</string>
Google Smart Lock, a part of Play Services, has long featured a “Trusted Devices” option to keep your phone unlocked if a previously paired Bluetooth headphones or watch is connected and nearby.
Possibly related to the Pixel Stand and other wireless charging docks — given how users can agree to trust a specific dock — Google might add a preference for Trusted Devices right into Assistant settings.
<string name=”trusted_devices_bottom_text”>You can turn this off in Assistant settings.</string>
<string name=”trusted_dock_action_text”>I Agree</string>
<string name=”trusted_dock_cancel_text”>No thanks</string>
Personal Search and Recents
The Google app is working on a new “General” settings menu that could incorporate preferences for both Recents and Personal Search.
<SwitchPreference android:persistent=”true” android:title=”@string/use_recently_title_hub” android:key=”@string/recently_preference” android:defaultValue=”true” android:summaryOn=”@string/use_recently_subtitle_when_enabled_hub” android:summaryOff=”@string/use_recently_subtitle_when_disabled_hub” />
<PreferenceScreen android:persistent=”false” android:title=”@string/personal_results_title_hub” android:key=”@string/personal_search_results_preference” android:summary=”@string/personal_results_summary_hub” android:fragment=”com.google.android.apps.gsa.search.core.preferences.SearchableItemsFragment” />
The latter allows users to search through Gmail, Calendar, and other supported third-party apps right from the Google app.
<string name=”personal_results_summary_hub”>Manage what info shows up in search from other apps you use. Only you can see these results.</string>
<string name=”personal_results_title_hub”>Personal search results</string>
The “Recents” tab that displays as a carousel pages you’ve previously visited could also be enabled/disabled from a new menu.
<string name=”use_recently_subtitle_when_disabled_hub”>”Turn on to have the app keep track of the pages you’ve recently visited so you can easily get back to them.”</string>
<string name=”use_recently_subtitle_when_enabled_hub”>”The app will keep track of the pages you’ve recently visited so you can easily get back to them.”</string>
<string name=”use_recently_title_hub”>Recent pages</string>
How to update?
You can sign-up for the Google app’s beta program here or by heading to the Play Store listing on Android and scrolling to the bottom. The latest beta version of the Google app is immediately rolled out when it’s available.
We do not post APKs to download directly given the legal challenges associated with copyright and possibility of removal. Meanwhile, that model moving forward is perilous given upcoming system-level changes from Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.
Dylan contributed to this article