The Google Search app just got updated, so that means it's teardown time! I still rip into every interesting Google update, but I only write an article when I find something interesting. Things have been slim lately, I know, but today there's good news! I found stuff.

Google Search is the hardest app teardown to do. You can never really be sure if what you've found is in the app or not, because everything is so predictive and context heavy. So I'll just aim for "new stuff that's not in the change log." If you find any of this in the actual app, let me know. That change log, by the way, looks like this.

- Google Now widget for home screen or lock screen
- Movie passes from Fandango
- Movies now includes ratings from Rotten Tomatoes
- Real estate listings from Zillow when in the market for a home
- Music button when a song is playing in voice mode (US only)
- Support for US college sports

Anything not in there is going in this article. Starting with:

Art Project


"Art Project." The name and icon is about all the information I  have for you. There's some XML that handles the touch response (white to blue) and that's about it.

action iconsnexusae0_Google-Now-Travel-Cards-Update2

I can tell you that the design and the name ("ic_action_artproject") means this belongs to the family of "action" icons for Google Now cards. Here's the full group of them on the left, and you can see them in context on the right. These guys all go at the bottom of a Now card, and as the name would imply, they all do stuff: make a phone call, view an email, navigate somewhere, etc.

The other "action" icons are named pretty straightforwardly, so the only conclusion I can come up with is that there will be a new Google Now card with "Art Project" as an action - which makes no sense. Start speculating.

Here's a revelation, courtesy of Justin Essiambre: Google Art Project is actually a thing - check out http://www.googleartproject.com. It's a Google site that displays very high resolution pictures of art. It would have to be either be location or camera search based.

Flight Progress & Early Airport Arrival

A perfect example of something I have no way of testing. There are some new flight features, but I don't have a flight coming up anytime soon, and don't have any way to make Google Now think I have a flight coming up soon, so let me know if you spot this.


These colored airplanes are all new. Google Now currently tells you if an upcoming flight is on time or not with colored text, but these are called "progress" which would suggest you see this card while you're flying.


There are also beginning and end points for the airplanes. These will eventually form lines in the style of Google's location history design. Again, this would be pretty pointless before or after your flight, you would want to see it during your flight. That's interesting, because GPS doesn't really work in a plane. I guess you could time it.

<string name="time_to_leave_notification_airport_hours_before">Leave by %1$s to arrive at the airport %1$s hours before your flight</string>
<string name="time_to_leave_notification_airport_minutes_before">Leave by %1$s to arrive at the airport %1$s minutes before your flight</string>
<string name="adjust_settings">Adjust settings</string>
<string name="arrive_at_the_airport">Arrive at the airport</string>
<string name="domestic">Domestic</string>
<string name="international">International</string>
<string name="before_flight_hour">%1$d hour before flight</string>
<string name="before_flight_hours">%1$d hours before flight</string>
<string name="before_flight_minutes">%1$d minutes before flight</string>

Google Search is also sporting some new flight-related strings. It looks like there will be a traffic card specifically for airports, which would take an early arrival time into account, so you have time to check bags and go through security. "Adjust Settings" seems to suggest you'll be able to enter your preferred early arrival time, and it will alert you of the traffic accordingly. The "Domestic" and "International" strings might even mean it will keep separate preferences for each type of flight. That would be neat.

As far as I can tell, there is no actual xml for "Adjust settings" to load, so I'm pretty sure this feature isn't live yet.

Update: This actually is live! Here's some screenshots. You can get to this from settings, but keep in mind there are two areas for fight settings. Go to Settings -> Google Now, and pick the second "Flights" option, under Gmail cards.

Thanks Ian Lake!

wm_2013-02-13 18.54.25wm_2013-02-13 18.56.04

Update: It's live! Jeremy Steckling sent in a screenshot of it actually working. You need to Image Search an artwork that's in the Google Art Project database. Thanks Jeremy!


Strange Contact Text

<string name="show_contact_information_section_phone">Phone</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_section_email">Email</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_section_address">Address</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_view_contact">View contact</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_edit_contact">Edit contact</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_no_contact_details">There are no contact details stored for this contact.</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_no_phone_number">There is no phone number stored for this contact.</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_no_email_address">There is no email address stored for this contact.</string>
<string name="show_contact_information_no_postal_address">There is no postal address stored for this contact.</string>

These are new, but I'm totally lost as to what they would be for. Google Search doesn't really deal with contacts like this. You can tell Voice Actions to Call (or email) someone, but if you don't have a phone number for that contact, it will say "Contact not found," not "There is no phone number stored for this contact." "Contact not found" is pretty confusing, so maybe they are just changing the error message.

"No postal address," though, is really strange, especially the "postal" part. That makes it sound like you want to send paper mail. This can't be a better error message, because there is nothing you can currently do with a contact address in Search. "Navigate to Bob's house" is not supported.

There's also "View contact" and "Edit contact," which, again, are not things you can do through Google Search.

Other Tidbits

Google is working on SPDY support for the Search app. There's a ton of code for it, and there's even an "enable_spdy" switch in bools.xml. SPDY is like HTTP, but faster. So Google Search will load even quicker!

<string name="weather_current_temperature">%1$d degrees</string>
<string name="weather_high_temperature">high %1$d degrees</string>
<string name="weather_low_temperature">low %1$d degrees</string>

For some reason there is now text for "High xx degrees" for the weather, which is interesting, because the weather card doesn't use this text (neither does the widget). Perhaps there's a weather card revamp in the works?

wm_2013-02-13-17.32wm_2013-02-13-17.33wm_2013-02-13 17.50.35

Live Stuff: The Traffic page has a few more options, you can now set the transportation mode separately for commutes and other trips, and "Walking" and "Biking" are now selectable traffic modes. There's also a new section in the "Privacy & Accounts" settings for "Personal results."

<string name="feedback_prompt">Help improve Google Now. Was this card…</string>
<string name="feedback_prompt_useful">Useful</string>
<string name="feedback_prompt_not_useful">Not useful</string>

There is or will be a feedback prompt, presumably when you swipe away a card. Has anyone spotted this?


This guy is called "ic_menu_email_holo_dark.png" and I'm guessing he goes with a new bit of text that says "Email Guests." This is probably for Calendar support.

Remember when I found the Google Goggles team's personal sandbox URLs hidden in the search app? They've been removed. Glad to hear you guys are readers. <3

That's it for this update. This one left us with more questions than answers, didn't it? Let's hear your speculation in the comments.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://twitter.com/rohanXm Rohan Mathur

    Ron, +9 billion to these posts. Keep it up :) Love reading them

    • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

      Agreed. Favorite articles on any Android site.

    • Larizard

      We live our secret detective lives through these kind of posts.

  • http://twitter.com/NotifApp Notif for Android

    These posts are awesome! Great reads

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    I came here to say this. <3 your work Ron.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    My daily Ron <3 message.

  • Michael Katz

    You forgot one important thing about In Progress. Say you are picking up a friend from the airport, the In Progress will be quite useful. Or you are waiting to make sure a friend's plane landed safe.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Hmm, that's an idea. How would it know about your friend's flight, though? Right now it mostly gets flight information from emails.

      • Lake

        When you do the initial search for the flight number on Google.

        • Mike

          Yep, I've searched random flight #'s before and ended up with a Google Now card because of it

          • Larizard

            lol I always had the same problem, but with searching an address on my desktop.

      • Michael Katz

        I don't know about you, but when my friends/family come to town, they tend to send me their flight itinerary....Google Tracks that too. I found that out when my Dad came to visit, he sent me his itinerary, and on that day it pulled the flight information.

      • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

        Well I actually used it before the update got to know my sister's flight was delayed once I made her forward the tickets ... and another time I just searched for the flight number in the week of her flight. Was spot on then too, though I would like a notification alert override if my flight is delayed sure it'll give me a notification but I would also like a sound or something even though it is on silent or a specific led notification at least. Why? cause it is important and I want to know!

  • PRM

    Good stuff. By the way, the flight stuff should work if you just google a flight. Or recently, my dad had his flight itinerary sent to my email and I saw the updates on my phone. People could argue whether or not I should see them (since it wasn't my name), but it was great to make sure his flight wasn't delayed and I could be at the airport in time.

  • http://twitter.com/hebbet hebbet

    have you ever heard about http://www.googleartproject.com/

    that is Art Project!

  • Eduardo Espino

    Is the Timer function working with this update?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Nope. Still sets an alarm.

  • heat361

    I love these tear downs!!!!

  • Ray

    Google must hate you!! :D

  • tym0

    To me the art project icon just seems related to the photo-based search included it this update: http://bit.ly/VFEnl8
    So basically you take a picture of a painting and a card show up with info about it and you can touch the new icon to go to the art project page for more info.

  • Tyler

    And yet 2 things still dont work. 1) Timers using 4.2 timer 2) Changing settings like wifi

  • Sootie

    Your Art project update is in the wrong spot mate (appearing under the flights section not the art project section).

    Great article as always

  • Freak4Dell

    For what it's worth, GPS works on a plane, since the satellites are much higher up than planes fly. It's just cellular service that doesn't work, so if your phone only has aGPS, it won't get a lock. If your phone/tablet supports standalone GPS, it will work. I've used My Tracks on a plane before because I'm a nerd and curious about weird stuff like how fast the plane is flying.

    • White Pawn

      In any case, I don't think it needs to rely on GPS. Live light tracking information is publicly available. So Google could always use that rather than trying to find where you are. After all, it may not be your flight that you are tracking.

    • JordanMcRae

      Ya I use GPS Test on flights to see the same stuff haha

  • Kaushal

    Google Now banner now shows the Google Doodle of the day!

    • DeadSOL

      I don't even see the Google Now banner 99% of the time. (-_-)

    • Justin Winker

      Lol! Was wondering why it showed a carnival as my banner. I knew I had seen it before though but this completely makes sense.

  • Ryan O’Neill

    Could "art project" refer to the "picture of the day" image that is found on the google.com? (the ferris wheels)


  • Garry DeWitt

    My only problem with Google now is the amount of battery it drains in polling my location. Anyone have tips for keeping the drain low? Currently not regulating anything and have all the various "auto update my loc" things checked in location settings.

  • http://twitter.com/pstjmack Paul StJ Mackintosh

    I have a rooted ZTE Skate running the ParanoidJelly ROM with Android JB.
    I tried to upgrade Google Search and I get an incompatible message on
    the Play Store. Anyone know where I could download the apk for *this*
    latest version of Google Search?

  • nelson

    Anybody know how I can get Google Now to show me traffic to a location that I told it I don't care about? I hit that by mistake once and now it won't show me traffic to my girlfriend's house ever. I've tried deleting my entire location history, clearing data on the app and reinstalling, etc, and nothing happens.

  • Alessandro


    Maybe just google it the next time :D Still an exceptionally good article!

  • Vlad

    HTC One~everything your phone isn't... Well my Nexus 4 isn't a piece of sh*t