Face Match was officially announced on Tuesday at I/O 2019 for the Nest Hub Max. We’ve been tracking this capability in the Google app since earlier this year, with Google app 9.88 this evening providing some descriptive text.

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.

‘Stuck’ Podcasts notification

Some Google Podcasts users on Pie are encountering a bug where the player notification cannot be swiped away. Even when media is paused or after the episode has completed, those affected are left with a persistent and stuck notification in the drawer.

This issue appears to be specific to Android 9 running version 9.88 with users reverting to force stopping the Google app from system settings. Notifications from Google Podcasts can be easily swiped away in version 9.84 on Pie and 9.88 with Android Q Beta 3.

Google app 9.88 Podcasts stuck

Google app 9.84

Earlier today, Google app 9.84 made an appearance on APK Mirror. To the best of our knowledge that version did not widely roll out. It revealed work on Assistant, Personal References, and other features announced at I/O. Meanwhile, there was no Google app beta last week, with 9.88 today being the absolute latest version.

Pixel Launcher search dark theme

The Google app began working on a dark theme for Search results with version 9.66 in April. Various elements in recent months have also briefly adopted dark themes for a beta release or two, like Google Assistant in January.

Pixel Launcher search, which displays your past four queries and app suggestions, is now the latest. It’s accessible from the search bar at the bottom of the homescreen or at the top of the app drawer. It’s not finished as the status bar and app names are not legible.

Dark theme widget

When Battery Saver is enabled, the Google Search widget adopts a dark theme. This is the same look that users can manually customize.

Face Match

Face authentication, like Voice Match, has to be setup through Google Assistant on Android or iOS. A face model is created and then encrypted, with subsequent recognition performed locally where camera data never leaves the Nest Hub Max.

A string for “pose_instruction” in Google app 9.88 asks users to “Hold the device to your face at eye level and at arm’s length.”

<string name=”talk_back_pose_instruction”>”Hold the device to your face at eye level and at arm’s length.;Slowly turn your head to the left by 30 degrees.;Turn back to the center and then slowly turn your head to the right by 30 degrees.”</string>

This left and right tilt matches a circular animation we spotted last month related to Face Match. Another string provides instructions on how to retry the setup.

<string name=”talk_back_pose_retry_instruction”>”I wasn’t able to get a clear view of your face. Make sure you’re holding the device still at eye level and at arm’s length.;I wasn’t able to get the images I need. Let’s start from the beginning. Hold the device in front of your face at eye level. Then slowly turn your head to the left.;I wasn’t able to get the images I need. Let’s start over. Hold the device in front of your face at eye level. Then slowly turn your head to the right.”</string>

Family & top contacts

Tied to the upcoming Personal References features that allows users to refer to people by relationship (mom, dad, sister) when issuing Assistant commands is “Your People.” This existing menu will likely be renamed to “Family & top contacts” later this year.

<string name=”assistant_settings_family_and_your_people_title”>Family &amp; top contacts</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_family_and_your_people_subtitle”>Your Assistant helps you share &amp; stay connected with the important people in your life</string>

New Assistant phone settings, hotword setup

Over the past several releases, Google has been updating Assistant settings to the Material Theme. We’ve enabled a redesign of phone settings where elements are centered and several toggles gain icons. There is also a new hotword setup process that leverages a circular ring to note progress.

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

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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