The latest beta version of the Google app is rolling out this afternoon after skipping a release last week. Version 8.12 details how the last remnant of Google Now will soon be killed, while there are minor tweaks to Podcasts and Lens.
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 8.12 of the Google — skipping 8.11 — features a “deprecation_warning” for a widget. “Feed” is the most likely candidate for removal given how it’s the last remnant of Google Now and for most people only shows the weather. Google is instead pushing users to the At-a-glance widget that features the date, weather, calendar and other information.
<string name=”deprecation_warning”>”This widget won’t be available soon. For info like this, get the new Google At-a-glance widget. <font color=#4a90e2><nobr>LEARN MORE”</string>
<string name=”widget_disabled”>Looking for weather, calendar, and other updates? Install the new At-a-Glance widget. <font color=#4a90e2><nobr>LEARN MORE</string>
Google Podcasts: Search, Cast, Settings
Search in Google Podcasts is currently limited to a high-level look up of shows. The Google app might be working on the ability to surface individual episodes when searching in the Podcasts app.
Such a feature would be useful when just generally looking for episodes by topic, term, or event, while “Episode results” would compliment the existing “Show results” category. It is also in line with Google’s ambition to transcribe every podcast and make them searchable.
<string name=”episode_results”>Episode results</string>
As we enabled before, Google Cast support is under development. A new string notes how “Speed settings aren’t available while casting.”
<string name=”speed_setting_disabled_message”>”Speed settings aren’t available while casting.”</string>
Lastly, Podcasts Settings features a new toolbar with links to Help, Privacy, and Terms.
Google Lens intro text
The panel that notes Google Lens capabilities has been slightly tweaked, including categories and descriptions. “Places” is now “Identify Plants and Animals.”
Back in April, we enabled a new look for the Google app that featured a rounded search bar and cards. This is still a work in progress, but the Top Apps feature we spotted last version appears to be a tab in this new bottom bar.
Meanwhile, on the sheet to edit Feed articles, the “spark” icon for topics is present. It was last seen on a rather terrible Pixel Launcher feed redesign that Google was A/B testing in April.
Recommended for you
The Pixel Launcher recommends apps that might be useful when opening the search bar from the homescreen. Google is testing making that section more apparent.
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