For the past several releases, the Google app has been working on a way to “Get suggestions from your Assistant on your ambient display.” Google app 10.16 provides our best guess at how this could work, and it very much looks like the current Assistant “Updates” feed.
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.
Assistant Updates on Ambient Display
Introduced last year at I/O, Assistant Updates — also referred to as “visual updates” by Google — is the spiritual successor to Google Now. New strings point to Assistant on the Ambient Display featuring the same top greeting found on the full version:
<string name=”ambient_morning_greeting”>Good morning!</string>
<string name=”ambient_afternoon_greeting”>Good afternoon!</string>
<string name=”ambient_evening_greeting”>Good evening!</string>
<string name=”ambient_night_greeting”>Good night!</string>
Also making an appearance is “Agenda,” which sounds like the existing card that displays your schedule and reminders. This includes what’s “coming up” next and your events “tomorrow.”
<string name=”ambient_agenda_summary”>Your %1$s is at %2$s.</string>
<string name=”ambient_agenda_title”>Coming up</string>
<string name=”ambient_next_event”>next event</string>
Your commutes and how long they’ll take will also show up. This currently pulls from your calendar and your daily trips to work/home.
<string name=”ambient_commute_summary”>”It’ll take about %1$s to %2$s.”</string>
One addition is an alarm section that notes what alerts you have and when they trigger. Users also have the ability to “set an alarm” from here.
<string name=”ambient_alarm”>an alarm</string>
<string name=”ambient_alarm_summary”>You have %1$s set for %2$s.</string>
<string name=”ambient_alarm_tomorrow_summary”>You have %1$s set for %2$s tomorrow.</string>
<string name=”ambient_no_alarm_summary”>You have no alarm set for the next morning.</string>
<string name=”ambient_set_alarm”>Set an alarm</string>
Also new is what’s currently playing, which would be ideal as a lockscreen replacement.
<string name=”ambient_media_playing_music”>Playing Music</string>
Lastly, there is a DND indicator:
<string name=”ambient_do_not_disturb”>Do not disturb</string>
In addition to the slew of “ambient” strings in Google app 10.16, a “charging mode” is also referenced. The functionality described is similar to Assistant, but there is also the ability to “See a slideshow of your photos.” This suggests that users could alternate between the Updates feed on the lockcsreen or the Pixel Stand’s photo gallery functionality.
<string name=”charging_mode_intro_title”>Do more while your device is locked and charging</string>
<string name=”charging_mode_intro_content”>See a slideshow of your photos, get commute info, control your media, and more.</string>
“Charging mode” is activated when your device is connected to power and locked. It is “Paused automatically after a few hours of inactivity,” which would be useful at night. At this time, there is no indication whether this will be Pixel-exclusive or available on all Android phones.
<string name=”idle_notification_title”>Ambient Mode</string>
<string name=”idle_notification_content”>Paused automatically after a few hours of inactivity</string>
<string name=”idle_notification_action_resume_ambient_mode”>Tap to resume</string>
<string name=”oobe_notification_title”>See a slideshow of your photos & personal updates</string>
<string name=”oobe_notification_content”>All while your device is charging & locked.</string>
Also of note is a suggestion on the Assistant Ambient Display to launch the new Driving Mode. Google could factor movement in addition to being plugged in to power.
<string name=”amb_morris_affordance_text”>Driving somewhere? Tap to start driving mode</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.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.