In our teardown of version 7.12 of the Google app last week, we spotted several mentions of a customizable “Google Bar.” Since then, we have been able to activate the feature to reveal that future versions of the Google app could allow users to customize the search bar widget.
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.
The latest Google app beta contains several strings referring to a “Google Bar” and the ability to alter its appearance:
<string name=”google_bar”>Google Bar</string>
<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>
Once rolled out, the new widget has an overflow icon at the very right that contains two menu items: “Customize” or “Send Feedback.” Tapping the former launches an editor where the bar’s appearance can be changed:
- Bar logo: Users can either select the full Google logo found on older devices or the ‘G’ version that newer devices like the Galaxy S8, Essential Phone, and Moto X4 have as part of the rounded Search widget.
- Bar shape: Speaking of that rounded widget, users can set the Google Bar to look like that. Others include the current rectangular figure, as well as a new shape that features more rounded corners.
- Bar Color: Allows users to select whether they want the multi-colored Google logo and voice icon or simpler grey icons. More ambitious is an option that darkens the bar’s background and makes the icon white. If none of those options suit you, there are sliders that let users set their own icon and background color.
- Bar shading: The last option allows users to set transparency with a slider that goes from “See-through” to “Solid.”
The editor conveniently displays your wallpaper in the background with a “Done” button in the top right corner saving your customized Google Bar. It’s unclear when this feature will begin to go live for users, but at the moment it appears to be finished.
Dylan contributed to this article