Betas of the Google app resumed on Monday after a two-week absence, but the release cadence has since increased. Google app 9.27 is rolling out this evening with what appears to be the wide availability of several Material Theme tweaks, Collection sharing, and continued work on Labs.
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.
Beta release cadence
Most users subscribed to the beta channel have received version 9.21 on Monday and 9.27 today. However, Google (according to APK Mirror) also released 9.23 and 9.24 — not to mention 9.17 — over the course of this week. There are minor changes introduced with each incremental releases, with Google appearing to increase testing.
Material Theme settings and bottom bar
With Google app 9.27, the additional Material Theme tweaks that we’ve been tracking for the past few months are fully rolled out. Two devices on our end that have persistently stuck to the old bottom bar and Settings — while other phones received the revamp — saw the design after this evening’s update. Try closing the app from Android’s Recents menu to refresh.
The bottom bar now makes use of bolded Material Theme icons, while the More tab and Settings have been completely overhauled. Google’s latest visual language is particularly well leveraged to provide a clean, modern look. Up top is the new account switcher that trades the cover image for a centered Google logo. Menu items take advantage of Google Sans and updated icons. New additions include “Search activity” and “Your data in Search.” One subtle touch is the use of rounded selection indicators when tapping items.
In Settings, various one-toggle pages have been consolidated into six menus. “General” houses the majority of settings like Discover, Data Saver, and offline Search. “Notifications” opens system settings, while “Google Assistant” and “Search” are unchanged. “Language & region” and “About” round out the list.
One change that Google did not decide to adopt is your profile avatar in the top-right corner of the Discover tab to quickly switch accounts.
Adding phone number to Assistant
The ability to add a phone number in Assistant first emerged in the iOS app last March “so the Assistant can help you with things like reservations.” This addition makes sense for features like Google Duplex. It does not appear to be live in Google app 9.27.
<string name=”assistant_settings_phone_number_add_button_label”>Add phone number button</string>
<string name=”assistant_settings_phone_number_dialog_add_button_label”>Add phone number</string>
Coinciding with the Google Material Theme, the Collections page has been tweaked with a brighter background and sharing. As we spotted before, each now features a button that allows users to share links and images saved from Search via a publicly accessible link. This can be revoked by going to the new “Share settings” in the overflow menu.
Meanwhile, Google app 9.27 includes several strings related to an unreleased recommendations feature that suggests more images and pages to save.
<string name=”collections_recommendation_promo_message”>Add to collection to improve recommendations</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_summary”>Explore images, pages, and more related to your collections</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_title”>Find more for collections</string>
This could be a “Lab,” with Google app 9.23 revealing a feature to test upcoming functionality ahead of time. Google will ask for feedback, but it’s not clear if this is live yet.
<string name=”labs_notice_text”>”Be the first to try new features Google is working on. Send feedback to let us know what you think. “<i>Features may be unstable.</i></string>
<string name=”labs_rec_how_step_1″>Go to More > Collections</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_how_step_2″>Open one of your existing collections</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_how_step_3″>Go to the “More to consider” tab</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_how_step_4″>Add items you like to your collection</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q1_opt_1″>Extremely helpful</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q1_opt_2″>Slightly helpful</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q1_opt_3″>Neither helpful or unhelpful</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q1_opt_4″>Slightly unhelpful</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q1_opt_5″>Extremely unhelpful</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q1_title”>How helpful do you find this feature?</string>
<string name=”labs_rec_q2_title”>How would you improve this feature?</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 is perilous given Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.