The latest beta version of the Google app rolled out over the weekend with a number of small features in the works. Google app 8.59 notes wider availability for Continued Conversation and is testing an interesting new feature for the homescreen Search 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.
Expanded homescreen search widget
Google app 8.59 is testing an interesting ability to expand the homescreen search widget. To the right of the oblong bar is a new expand button that when tapped opens a search field overlay at the top of the screen.
Styled with Google Material Theme, the search field is above, with two tabs underneath. One is for the standard “All” searches, and the other is just for Image lookups. In recent weeks, Google has emphasized the importance of visual search by adding Lens and other features.
Below that is a carousel of “Trending Searches.” In the past, Google has experimented with showing popular queries, but the latest is more visual and features accompanying images as well as some sort of “hotness” metric. This expanded Search bar could be a way to provide a simpler Search experience given how Discover now takes up the main Google app.
Wider Continued Conversation availability
Continued Conversation is a nifty feature that essentially keeps the mic on Google Home speakers hot for several seconds after a response. This allows users to ask follow-up questions without having to repeat the Ok/Hey Google hotword. In June, it launched in English and only worked in the US.
<string name=”assistant_settings_summer_time_mode_availability_clarification_all_en_launch”>Continued Conversation is currently available for all English users. If you use Google Home devices not shown here, the person with the primary account on those devices may turn Continued Conversation on or off in their Assistant settings.</string>
In recent months, it has begun rolling out to other countries when English is selected as the default language. Google app 8.59 plans to codify this wider availability, noting that “Continued Conversation is currently available for all English users.” It was previously in testing with Googlers.
<string name=”assistant_settings_summer_time_mode_availability_clarification_all_en_dogfood”>Continued Conversation is currently available in English (US) for regular users and all English locales throughout the world for internal Googlers. If you use Google Home devices not shown here, the person with the primary account on those devices may turn Continued Conversation on or off in their Assistant settings.</string>
New Your people description
Google Assistant’s Your people allows users to assign the personal relationships between themselves and others. For example, you can directly tell Assistant which contact is a family member, or when their birthday is. A new string in Google app 8.59 better describes the functionality:
<string name=”assistant_settings_your_people_header”>Your Assistant helps you share and connnect with the people in your life</string>
New Google Lens walkthrough GIFs
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 is perilous given 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