The latest Google app beta is rolling out and reveals a number of features being developed for the Google Assistant. New customization options might allow users to  select different voices and hotwords. Meanwhile, there are references to the Pixel 2’s rumored squeezable frame, sleep sounds, and more podcast controls.

About APK Teardowns: In this ‘APK teardown,’ we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that was uploaded to the Play Store. When an app (or an APK, to be specific, in the case of Android apps) is decompiled, 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. With that in mind, read on.

“Active Edge” squeeze gesture for the Pixel 2

One of the rumored features for this year’s Pixel devices is a squeezable frame that allows users to invoke certain actions by squeezing their phone. Last month, an FCC filing for the smaller HTC-made Pixel 2 confirmed this along with it’s public facing branding.

“Active Edge” has again been confirmed, with version 7.12 of the Google app noting the ability to “Squeeze for your Assistant,” as well as settings on the device.

<string name=”nexus_active_edge_settings_dialog_button”>Active Edge settings</string>

<string name=”nexus_active_edge_settings_dialog_text”>”To change settings for the squeeze gesture, go to your phone’s Active Edge settings.”</string>

<string name=”nexus_active_edge_settings_title”>Squeeze for your Assistant</string>


At I/O 2017, Google Assistant added Shortcuts that allowed users to set their own phrases to invoke commands. For instance, saying “Good night” could turn off all your lights or “Late again” to send a specific text message to an individual

Google now appears to be working on a more advanced feature called “Routines” that allows users to initiate multiple things with just a single command.

<string name=”assistant_settings_routine_editor_title”>Edit routine</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_routines_description”>Get daily help with personal Routines. Just say one command and your Assistant will do multiple things.</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_routines_title”>Routines</string>

Google Bar

Version 7.12 makes several references to a “Google Bar.” It likely has to do with search, but whether it’s a widget or just the quick search bar in notifications is unclear. Regardless, there are a number of options to customize its appearance, including: color, shading, and shape.

<string name=”bar_color_title”>Bar color</string> <string name=”bar_logo_title”>Bar logo</string> <string name=”bar_shading_title”>Bar shading</string> <string name=”bar_shape_title”>Bar shape</string>

<string name=”color_palette”>Color Palette</string>

<string name=”rectangular”>Rectangular</string>

<string name=”rounded”>Rounded</string>

<string name=”solid”>Solid</string>

<string name=”transparent”>See-through</string>

More voices for Assistant

Google’s Text-to-speech Engine already lets users select what voice they want to hear, while other smart assistants like Siri on iOS allows users to pick a male or female voice. Google appears to be readying a feature that allows users to set the voice Assistant speaks in.

<string name=”assistant_settings_voice_selection_category”>Available voices</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_voice_selection_header”>Choose the voice your Assistant will use to respond to you</string>

New hotworlds for Assistant

Following on the theme of customizations, there is the possibility of setting a hotword that is not “Ok Google.” It’s unclear whether Google is offering users the chance to create their own hotword to initiate the Assistant, or whether users can now select from a predefined list.

<string name=”search_service_hotword_upgrade_retraining_notification_content”>Tap to upgrade.</string>

<string name=”search_service_hotword_upgrade_retraining_notification_title”>New hotword available now</string>

Sleep Sounds

Back in May, Google Home added a library of relaxation sounds. It appears that Google is planning on expanding its ambient noise library with “sleep sounds” that shut off automatically as you fall asleep.

<string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_main_category_title”>”Choose which sounds to hear while you’re falling asleep. These sounds will stop automatically.”</string>

Users will be able to select a sound, with “Play sleep sounds” initiating the feature.

<string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_meditation_title”>Meditation</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_nature_title”>Nature</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_ocean_title”>Ocean</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_sleep_title”>Sleep</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_thunderstorm_title”>Thunderstorm</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_play_sound_title”>Play sleep sounds</string>


The Google Assistant on Home and phones already feature basic commands for playing a podcast through Google. The feature may soon be adding more commands, like “Continue last played podcast,” which at the moment does not work on any device.

<string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_continue_last_played”>Continue last played podcast</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_continue_specific_complete”>Continue \”%1$s\”</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_continue_specific_incomplete”>Continue a specific podcast</string>

Podcast settings might also be coming to the app, including “Playback preferences.”

<string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_examples”>”For example, \”99% Invisible\”, \”Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me\”, or \”Freakonomics\”.”</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_main_category_title”>Playback preferences</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_specific_edit_content_description”>Select a podcast</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_title”>My podcasts</string> <string name=”user_defined_action_task_podcast_which”>Which podcast?</string>

Thanks Dylan!

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com