Google Search teardowns are always a huge mess, because there's really no way of knowing what is or isn't implemented. I'm up against a scary combination of Now's entirely context-based UI and Voice Actions, which has absolutely no UI. Rather than try and guess at what does or doesn't work, I'll just post everything that Google neglected to add in the change log. If you manage to see something working, send in a screenshot and I'll add it.
If you follow me on Google+, you'll know that APK Teardown has been in a bit of a dry spell lately, but wow, Google has made up for it today - there is a treasure trove of hidden things in this update.
Step one is to build a proper change log, so let's take a look at the starting point Google has supplied us with:
For Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean):
- Real time package tracking from select carriers
- Quick feedback and settings on cards
- Faster Google search results
Let me get the "I told you so" moment out of my system right away: "Faster Google search results" is layman speak for "We enabled SPDY," which was chronicled in the last Google Search APK Teardown. The system works!
"Quick feedback and settings" are these cool little (i) buttons at the top right of cards. They bring up a set of dark-themed links under each card for settings, feedback, and card justification. The (i) button means the microscopic menu button that used to be on each card (right) is dead - and good riddance, they were way too difficult to press on most phones.
The feedback for the Events card is particularly impressive - it asks if each individual suggestion is useful, almost as if Google is building a Pandora-style service that will track your event interests. I usually find the stuff in this card pretty irrelevant, so any kind of interest tracking would be welcome.
"My stuff" is a brand new section that Google neglected to mention in the change log. It houses all of your customized settings for Google Now cards. Here you can edit Places, Sports Teams, and Stocks.
Since settings are now on the main screen, directly below the cards, the settings section has gotten a revamp. Here's the new layout (left 2) vs. the old layout (right 2). In the new layout, any section with a description (for instance, Gmail cards) can be tapped on for more options.
There is a new option for using voice actions through a Bluetooth headset and an option to display the weather for work and home when you're away. Tapping on the weather card will once again show you a detailed forecast.
If you scroll the bottom bar all the way over, you'll see there's a new option to only search "Applications." It's interesting that they opted to call this "Applications" and not "Google Play" (even though this only searches the Play Store). I guess the iOS version searches Apple's store. (There is an iOS version, right?) Discovering this on your own is nigh-impossible (I found it digging through the code) so inclusion in the change log might have been a good idea.
Update: The Nearby Attractions card now shows closing times in big, green text. Thanks to Developer Steven for sending this in:
Now for the presumably hidden stuff:
Reminders are set to be the next big feature for Search. There are icons for time and location-based reminders, and another icon for "action reminders," which is a combination of the time and location icons.
You'll be able to specify reminders by date, time, location, and arrival/departure; so "Remind me to buy milk when I leave work tomorrow" will be a possible command soon. This is a list of all the parameters it will recognize, including options for specifying an exact date and time.
<activity android:name="com.google.android.voicesearch.fragments.reminders.EditReminderActivity" android:exported="false" />
There's also this new voice actions activity for reminders, so, if you haven't guessed already, the primary interface for this will be verbal.
<string name="my_stuff_preferences_summary">My sports teams, stocks, places, reminders</string>
<string name="my_stuff_preferences_summary_no_reminders">My sports teams, stocks, places</string>
In the text for the new "My Stuff" section, and there are versions with and without the reminders feature listed, so it sounds like you'll be managing reminders from that screen.
<string name="set_reminder_add_trigger">When would you like to be reminded?</string>
<string name="set_reminder_arriving">When I arrive at <xliff id="location" example="Times Square">%1$s</xliff></string>
<string name="set_reminder_leaving">When I leave <xliff id="location" example="Times Square">%1$s</xliff></string>
<string name="set_reminder_arriving_home">When I arrive home</string>
<string name="set_reminder_leaving_home">When I leave home</string>
<string name="set_reminder_arriving_work">When I arrive at work</string>
<string name="set_reminder_leaving_work">When I leave work</string>
<string name="set_reminder_set_time">Set time</string>
<string name="set_reminder_set_place">Set place</string>
<string name="set_reminder_submit">Set reminder</string>
<string name="set_reminder_edit">Edit reminder</string>
<string name="set_reminder_opt_in_prompt">To set reminders you need to be opted in to Google Now</string>
<string name="set_reminder_opt_in">Opt-in to Google Now</string>
<string name="set_reminder_saving">Saving reminder …</string>
<string name="set_reminder_error_saving">"Can't reach Google at the moment"</string>
Judging by all this text (and a few layout files), it looks like you'll be able to set a reminder non-verbally, too.
<string name="reminder_card_reason_time">You asked for a reminder at this time</string>
<string name="reminder_card_reason_location">You asked for a reminder at this location</string>
<string name="no_upcoming_reminders">No upcoming reminders</string>
<string name="no_past_reminders">No past reminders</string>
<string name="mark_reminder_done">Mark as done?</string>
You'll be able to see past reminders and mark existing ones as 'done.' I'm also going to take a wild guess and say that this "Snooze" text is for reminders, too.
It doesn't look like this will integrate with any other app, so those of you dreaming of Google Keep integration can just stop right now. It looks like all editing and task management you would need to do will be located in the search app. Between this, Keep, and Google Tasks, that will make three competing To-Do list apps from Google - four if you count Calendar. *sigh*
On the bright side, this looks extremely finished. I would expect reminders to launch very soon.
Sure, application search went live with this update, but there is also a metric ton of star rating images that I don't think are used anywhere. I had spotted Play Store rating stars in an earlier teardown, but nothing ever came of it. These are new stars, so it looks like Google is still playing with the idea.
Website Update Tracking
This one might be active - send in a screenshot if it shows up.
<string name="website_updates">Website updates</string>
<string name="website_card_summary">When new content is available to a website you visit frequently.</string>
<string name="website_update_read_full_story">Read full story</string>
<string name="website_update_justification">A website you visit frequently has been updated</string>
<string name="website_update_question">Are updates from these sources useful?</string>
I spotted text and code for a new card that alerts you when one of your favorite websites has updates.
What an awesome idea! I wish there were a Google service dedicated to keeping track of my favorite websites.
Location-Based Transit Preferences
<string name="transit_station_card_feedback_question">Do you usually want to see schedules for this location?</string>
<string name="transit_city_card_feedback_question">Do you usually take transit in this city?</string>
This sounds super handy. There are strings that suggest Now will start keeping track of your transit preferences based on your location. Personally, I drive all the time, until I go to New York, where I use all mass transit, all the time. This sounds perfect. This is another one that might be live -
if you've got a screenshot, send it in.
Update: It's live!
Fun fact: The new dark info panels that pop out of the cards are internally referred to as "Card backs." It is very clearly not the back of the card, so I'll take a guess and say the cards either used to flip over and display these options or they will at some point in the future. Flipping over would be neat.
Mysterious Help Cards
There is some kind of "help" initiative being cooked up for Google Now.
This thing is called "googlenow_help_avatar.png." "Help Avatar" might immediately conjure up images of Microsoft Office's Clippy, but usually this image is used a placeholder for your profile picture. I have no idea what it's for.
<item type="id" name="help_card_headline">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_example">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_date_preview">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_date_preview_day_of_week">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_date_preview_day">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_date_preview_month">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_time_preview">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_time_preview_hour">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_time_preview_minute">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_image_preview_1">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_image_preview_2">false</item>
<item type="id" name="help_card_refresh_example">false</item>
Here are all the individual elements I could find for the help card. It all has to do with to do with examples, dates, times, and images.
<string name="refresh_example">Show another example</string>
There are also these strings - I'm honestly not even sure if they're related to the help cards. This section's up to you, commenters. Any ideas?
Mysterious Contact Stuff, Part 2
The 2.3 update came with lots of mysterious contact-related stuff, and 2.4 is piling on even more.
There's this "ic_action_add_contact_normal.png" image, and, again, the "ic_action" designation means it would an actionable link at the bottom of a Google Now card.
There is also a "Copy" icon, which I'm guessing is contact-related just by the internal placement of the text:
<string name="copy_to_clipboard">Copy to clipboard</string>
<string name="clipboard_label">Contact details</string>
<string name="copy_all_text">Copy all text</string>
<string name="share_contact">Share contact</string>
<string name="add_contact">Add contact</string>
<string name="copied_to_clipboard">Copied to clipboard.</string>
There are a few layout cards for "Recognized Contact," too.
My only thought is that maybe this is for business card image recognition? That used to be a feature of Google Goggles, which is now integrated with the Search app. I couldn't get it to recognize any business cards, though.
Whew! Is it just me or was this teardown HUGE? I guess their new strategy is to try to overwhelm me with work. That's not going to work, Google!
Like I said in the intro, Google Search is always difficult to nail down. So if there's anything I called "hidden" that isn't actually hidden, take a screenshot and let me know.
That's it for today. See you next update!