The latest Google app beta is rolling out this afternoon and reveals a number of new in-development features. Assistant is planning a color-based naming scheme for Assistant voices, while the Google app is working on support for wireless charging in the At a Glance widget.
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.
Renamed Assistant voices
Since its inception, Google has been steadfast about not personifying its Assistant with a name like “Siri” or “Alexa.” However, this approach has certain growing pains as demonstrated by the launch of six new Assistant voices at I/O 2018. In settings, these names are just referred to as Voice 1-8.
The company is now fixing that lack of distinction by assigning and labeling each of the current Assistant voices with a color, as we managed to enable in the screenshots below. The Assistant voice menu features a brand new carousel with a voice wave above that animates as you hear a sample. All the colors are listed below, with the order matching the current 1-8 list:
Wireless charging in ‘At a Glance’
Last week, XDA found several references to wireless charging in Android P Developer Preview 3. It suggests that Google is internally testing a “com.google.android.apps.dreamliner” app — similar to the Now Playing and Active Edge services on the Pixel 2 — to support such a dock. DP3 also suggests that there might be accessories from multiple manufacturers, as well as a Made by Google model.
A pair of references to “dreamliner” have now appeared in version 8.8 of the Google app to “ENABLE_UPDATE” or “DISABLE_UPDATE.”
The strings appear alongside existing code for the Pixel Launcher, specifically the “At a Glance” functionality. That widget, which is now accessible on all devices, could possibly be used to display an “UPDATE” on the current charge status or some other similar metric.
<receiver android:exported=”true” android:name=”com.google.android.apps.gsa.broadcastreceiver.external.PixelLauncherBroadcastReceiver” android:permission=”com.google.android.apps.nexuslauncher.permission.QSB” android:process=”:search”>
Updated Podcasts icon
The new Google Podcasts icon we spotted last week is now available. Users need to remove the existing one and re-add the homescreen shortcut to get the new design.
More references to Google Podcasts app
We’ve enabled more references to the Google Podcasts app in the Play Store, including a new prompt at the top of the app and in the overflow menu. The latter example replaces the homescreen shortcut option.
Voice and Video Calls
Ahead of Assistant smart displays launching next month, the “Calls on speakers” menu in Google Assistant settings has been renamed to “Voice and Video Calls.” At the moment, there is no option to link Google Duo.
New warning when unlinking music services
Assistant smart displays
With signs earlier this week that Google is readying for next month’s launch, we have more details about the smart display experience. The homescreen of these devices will offer suggestions that note what Assistant is capable of:
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_explore_query”>What can you do?</string>
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_explore_text”>Explore more things your Assistant can do</string>
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_suggestion_local”>Any coffee shops nearby?</string>
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_suggestion_music”>Play music</string>
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_suggestion_recipes”>Find dinner recipes</string>
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_suggestion_timer”>Set a timer</string>
<string name=”quartz_homescreen_default_suggestions_title”>Things You Can Try</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