One of the awkward things about Google Stadia since launch is that the web, Chromecast, and Android versions don’t all support the same features. Among other work found in Stadia version 2.26, Google is working on one feature missing from Stadia for Android — voice chat support.

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.

As a reminder, the Google Stadia app usually includes a descriptive text explaining the context that each string will appear in, to be used as a translation guide. Down below, you’ll typically see the descriptive text first, followed by the actual string seen in the app.

Microphone support

In Google Stadia for Android today, in the place that you’d usually see party controls on other platforms, you simply see “Parties coming to app soon.” Even with today’s release of Stadia 2.26, rolling out now via the Google Play Store, that hasn’t changed. However, we are seeing signs of that changing in the near future.

The clearest proof is that Stadia 2.26 now lists itself as accessing the Microphone permission on Android, something it didn’t have before. Further, in the app’s code, we find references to the various ways that Stadia can use the microphone, including a suggestion that Google Assistant support may be coming soon to Stadia for Android.

MicrophoneTarget
MicrophoneTarget.assistant
MicrophoneTarget.gameChat
MicrophoneTarget.none
MicrophoneTarget.partyChat

Play on mobile data

With the last update, version 2.23, we found a lot of evidence pointing to Google Stadia launching the ability to play on mobile data, but only as an opt-in experiment. With Stadia 2.26, we find a bit more details about how mobile data gameplay will work.

Once launched, if you try to play a Stadia game on your phone, you’ll be greeted with a new message suggesting that you try opting in to the mobile data experiment.

This call to action is found on a button when the user does not have wifi, but they are able to opt-in to playing games over their mobile data network (4G, LTE, etc)

Find a way to play. There’s a new feature available, you can opt into playing games using mobile data.

Before you do enable it though, the app will try to make it very clear that Stadia uses a significant amount of data.

Disclaimer for the mobile data gameplay opt-in setting which explains that the feature may use more cellular data

Enabling this feature may increase your mobile data usage up to 2.7 GB/hr

What’s particularly interesting about this though, is that the data usage quoted, “2.7 GB/hr” is nearly half of Stadia’s current lowest performance setting, 720p, which the app estimates as using “4.5 GB/hr.” Based on this, it’s clear that Stadia is going to reduce its quality even further when playing on mobile data, possibly by reducing the frame rate or dropping resolution down to something like 480p. Whatever the case may be, hopefully this restriction will not be permanent as carriers around the world roll out 5G connectivity which should be more than capable of even 4K Stadia gameplay.

Elsewhere, we find that when playing on mobile data, if your phone connects to Wi-Fi, your Stadia session will immediately end, forcing you to reconnect. While somewhat frustrating, this is overall a good thing in terms of reducing mobile data usage.

Title of a dialog box indicating that the current game session has stopped because a wifi network is now available, and the current game session was using the cellular data network.

Reopen game to play using Wi-Fi

Body text of a dialog box indicating that the current game session has stopped because a wifi network is now available, and the current game session was using the cellular data network.

Your game stopped because a Wi-Fi network is now available

Family sharing

Another hotly anticipated feature for Stadia, family sharing, moves closer to launch with this release. With Stadia 2.26 we find many new strings explaining some nitty-gritty details of how sharing Stadia games will work.

With the previous release, we found that people in a family group would be able to individually decide which games they would like to share with their family. Stadia 2.26 includes some more preparation for that sharing menu.

Body for the tooltip that shows the user what to tap to choose which games to share in their game library.

Use this icon to choose which games to share

Title for the dialog that shows up if the user presses back while they have games selected, or hit the sharing icon again. The dialog has the user confirm if they want to save their changes or not.

Save changes?

We also learn that only Google family groups of up to six people will be able to share Stadia games.

Body of the section that tells users why they should create a Google family group.

Make a group with up to 5 other family members so you can share Stadia games

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