Ahead of Google Allo shutting down tomorrow, the latest version of Messages is rolling out today by laying the groundwork for Google Assistant. Messages 4.1 prepares for the Assistant features first shown off at MWC last month. Meanwhile, “smart suggestions” are already live with this release.

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.

Google Assistant in Messages

At MWC 2019, Google announced that Assistant is coming to Messages and detailed how it would work within a conversation. Messages 4.1 prepares for this feature with introductory text describing how users can “get info about movies, restaurants, and more.”

The feature leverages on-device machine learning to surface prompts on what users might want to search for, with the general idea to “Get info with a tap” thanks to suggestion pills that appear at the bottom of the screen.

<string name=”assistant_preference_title”>Google Assistant in Messages</string>

<string name=”assistant_suggestions_tooltip_text”>”Use the Google Assistant to get info about movies, restaurants, and more. Configure suggestions in “<u>Settings</u></string>

<string name=”assistant_suggestions_tooltip_title_text”>Get info with a tap</string>

<string name=”example_assistant_action_text”>Movies near me</string>

Meanwhile, Messages 4.1 prepares for a new menu in settings to support Assistant. A variant of it is already live today, but currently named “Smart Reply & suggestions” — more on that below. Like with Smart Reply, users will likely have the option to enable/disable Google Assistant. It also notes that the feature works on-device, with the menu likely renamed to just “Assistant & suggestions” when live.

<string name=”smarts_preference_info_text_ondevice_with_assistant”>Assistant suggestions, Smart Reply and suggested actions are visible only to you until you tap and share. &lt;br/&gt; &lt;br/&gt; Suggestions vary based on your conversation, and are generated on-device. &lt;a href&gt;Learn more&lt;/a&gt;</string>

Smart Reply & suggestions

In Messages 4.1, the Smart Reply menu has been expanded to include “Suggested actions” that are available today. The latter category includes prompts to automatically share your location when contextually appropriate in a conversation, and the ability to disable the feature. This new view retains the setting to turn off Smart Reply, and conveniently adds examples of the two AI-backed features in action.

<string name=”smarts_settings_page_title”>Smart Reply &amp; suggestions</string>

<string name=”smarts_settings_page_summary”>Smart Reply, suggested actions &amp; more</string>

<string name=”smarts_settings_page_title_with_assistant”>Assistant &amp; suggestions</string>

<string name=”smarts_settings_page_summary_with_assistant”>Google Assistant, Smart Reply &amp; more</string>

About, terms & privacy

In settings, there is a new “About, terms & privacy” menu at the bottom that includes “Version info” and links to the “Privacy policy” and “Terms of service.”

Messages 4.1

How to update?

Messages 4.1 is rolling out now via the Play Store. 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

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com