The latest Google app beta is rolling out this morning with details about two key features. First is some sort of standalone “Google Podcasts” app, while the second is more about the company’s upcoming 2018 World Cup coverage. Version 8.7 also provides more insight about Assistant smart displays ahead of next month’s launch.

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.

Standalone Google Podcasts app

As first hinted at in a series of interviews this April, version 8.7 reveals that Google Podcasts is getting its own app in the Play Store. Specifically, a prompt will suggest that users download “Google Podcasts” from the Play Store for “quick access.”

However, it’s unclear at the moment what the extent of this application will be. It could just be an app that acts as a shortcut — similar to Google Lens — to launch the experience directly, or the new app could completely replicate the functionality and entire interface in its own self-contained app that no longer relys on or opens the Google app.

Regardless, it reflects the company’s grand ambition for the service, which began with Podcasts getting a homescreen UI, offline download capabilities, and then rebranding to “Google Podcasts” with the Material Theme.

<string name=”install_google_podcasts”>Get the Google Podcasts app</string>

<string name=”install_google_podcasts_accept”>Get the app</string>

<string name=”install_google_podcasts_message”>Get the Google Podcasts app in the Play Store for quick access</string>

<string name=”install_google_podcasts_reject”>Not now</string>

World Cup coverage

All of Google’s products and services will be going all out for the 2018 World Cup starting later this month. From Google Trends to News, multiple apps will be providing in-depth ways to cover the football competition, but the primary method will be through Google Search.

On Android, the Google app will let users pin live scores as a floating window, as we first spotted in March. The pill-shaped UI can be tapped to provide more details, with a shortcut opening the full Google app. Meanwhile, version 8.7 today includes a quick shortcut — with the below icon — to “Follow” and “sign up” for all the World Cup news.

<string name=”follow_soccer_promo_query”>soccer 2018</string>

<string name=”follow_world_cup_promo”>Follow the World Cup</string>

<string name=”follow_world_cup_promo_content_description”>Follow the World Cup</string>

<string name=”follow_world_cup_promo_detail”>Tap here to sign up for match reminders, news and live scores for your favorite teams</string>

<string name=”follow_world_cup_promo_long_soccer_title”>Stay updated with soccer matches</string>

<string name=”follow_world_cup_promo_query”>world cup 2018</string>

<string name=”follow_world_cup_promo_short_soccer_title”>Soccer fever is here!</string>

Action Suggestions

Actions on Google are essentially apps for Assistant with Google trying to make the discovery process as easy as possible with features like “Explore.” The company is now trying to simplify this process even further by suggesting “related” Actions as you type.

It’s not clear which text field is being referenced, but it could possibly be related to Assistant’s upcoming visual refresh this summer. Users might be able to type in Assistant and get suggestion chips for Actions that will help accomplish the query. The alternative is just a revamped search feature in the Explore tab.

<string name=”action_suggestion_message”>This is an action that’s related to what you’re typing.</string>

Google Assistant smart displays

<string name=”quartz_knowledge_answer_list_image_content_description”>Image of the entity</string>

<string name=”quartz_muted_mic_plate_description_v2″>The microphone is muted.</string>

<string name=”quartz_slideshow_next_up”>Next up: %1$s</string>

<string name=”quartz_slideshow_now_showing”>Now showing: %1$s</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.

Dylan contributed to this article


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