27
Aug
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The Google Search 2.7 APK teardown is now officially the longest one in the history of Android Police. We find a bunch of interesting things, post about them, continue digging, and what do you know - keep running into new stuff. I'm fairly positive there won't be part 4 this time around, as we've squeezed out every last drop from v2.7, but as they say - never say never.

If you haven't read the first two parts yet, you should do so now to cover the bases. Part one talks about custom hotwords, automatic language pack updates, photo downloads, and a bunch of other things. Part two concentrates on a much-wanted feature that lets you use the hotword as you perform multiple searches without having to touch the device.

Part three, below, will introduce several new currently hidden discoveries that we were able to unearth after careful APK surgery. I mentioned that we were going to take the APK teardowns to a new level after Ron's departure, and I think we're delivering on that promise. You are not only getting string fragments but also actual UIs of all the hidden stuff. And if I know anything about the Internet, it's that people love pictures.

But before I talk about the new features, I'll also expand on a few that were uncovered in previous roundups. Oh, and for the grand finale - Japanese Fireworks. Wait, what? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Let's get to it.

teardowngsearch

Let's revisit these

Training questions mystery solved

In part 1 of the teardown, I found a whole bunch of files and assets related to training questions of yes/no and multiple choice varieties. Turns out, these are already live and have been since Search 2.4, except in Search 2.7, there are even more of them. I'm not exactly sure why there were so many new files in 2.7 - perhaps it was just code refactoring or maybe the logic was moving from the server to the app...

The idea of training is simple - tap the little (i) symbol in the top right corner of most cards, and you will not only see more information about why a certain card popped up, but can also make various decisions that affect it.

For example, when a calendar notification popped up, Search 2.6 told me that the event was in my calendar. Search 2.7 not only tells me which calendar, but also asks whether I want to see events from that calendar in the future. Considering that the Next appointment card now lets you select calendars, this tweak makes a lot of sense.

Below, you can see examples of both the yes/no and multiple choice UIs. I think we can mark the training questions mystery as solved.

wm_Screenshot_2013-08-26-00-59-52 wm_device-2013-08-26-005202

Left: Search 2.6; Right: Search 2.7

wm_device-2013-08-26-010159 wm_device-2013-08-26-010337

The UI for auto-updating languages

Remember how I told you the upcoming language auto-update functionality will come with a new tab in the Download Languages screen? Now we have the full visual of what it'll look like:

wm_device-2013-08-26-001155

More new stuff that may be coming at some point

Let's move to more interesting things, shall we? I think #1 is the most significant one, although the rest were way too much fun to discover and visualize.

Reminders when leaving a location

Google Now can already pop up a relatively new type of reminder when you arrive to a certain location. In the future, it will let you specify whether you want the reminder when you arrive to or are leaving a location.

In part 1, we had a hunch this feature might be coming (remember REMINDERS_LEAVING_TRIGGER?), but now we know what the UI is going to look like (note the addition of the Arrive/Leave box that's not currently present). Handy, no?

wm_device-2013-08-26-022154 wm_device-2013-08-26-020119

Experimental Cards UI and the Website updates card

Back in April, in the teardown of Search 2.4, Ron found references to a possible Website updates card which would presumably act as a pseudo-RSS reader for websites you visit frequently. Later on, he also found that Google introduced support for experimental cards and internal API cards in Search 2.6.

We've now figured out a way to enable them, which in turn let us visualize what they look like and everything that toggling them reveals. I still remember my heart skipping a beat at the exact moment the extra Internal API Cards menu appeared.

As you can see, the experimental Website updates card is alive and, unfortunately, is the only experimental card in the list. Boo! I was hoping to see the next several here. I haven't seen it pop up, so I'm not sure exactly how it'll work - all we have here is the setting toggle:

wm_device-2013-08-26-011645

Internal API cards and Japanese fireworks

Now about those internal API cards... Unlike regular cards, these seem to reside entirely on the server at the moment, and there seems to only be one. I literally have no comments outside of "Wat?..", so I'm going to end this post with it and hope that we'll also see this list get a bit less empty in the next few months.

Where was I? Ah, right - LOLWUT?

Update: Here's a wild speculation - could we be looking at a possible future Google Now cards API that's being tested internally? That would take Now to a whole new level. Imagine if developers could create their own cards - the possibilities would be endless, it would be a true Google Now revolution.

wm_device-2013-08-26-013026

Santiago Rosales and Paul Price contributed to these discoveries.

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • remister

    I am sure that one day Google Now, will feature RSS feeds updates from our favorite sites (ie AndroidPolice). Or even new photo updates from instagram/flickr/facebook etc

    • Nicktrance

      I doubt they'd go the RSS route considering they killed Google Reader.

      • Roger Siegenthaler

        They might use RSS as the back-end to update their main search service in a way that isn't as taxing as constantly crawling a site for new content. Essentially using the RSS as a faster updating sitemap :).

      • Logan

        thatsthejoke.jpg

      • Guest

        Google currents has rss

  • gollyzila

    I've been able to create location reminders when I leave a place using voice commands, e.g. "Remind me when I leave work to get gas."

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

      That doesn't work for me at all, in 2.6 or 2.7.

      • XBIRDIE98

        I admit that I've never thought about "leaving" as a reminder, but with the new Geofencing/Fused Location APIs, this makes a lot of sense.

        I have two other points:
        1. The "training options"/"yes/no questions" have been in my Stocks card, Sports cards and News card, along with a few others, since an older update. This looks like it extends the "yes/no questions" to even more cards.

        2. I've seen the "OK Google" in a screenshot of the app, in a post about the 2.7 update, on a Google Employee's G+ page, so that part (mentioned in Teardown Part 2) is definitely a serious contender for a future feature. This fits with their plans to integrate "OK Google" into desktop search, announced at I/O.
        [I don't want to get the person in trouble by linking them on this page, though. Should I send the link to an AndroidPolice email address?]

      • Colin Kealty

        It may be doing it time based as opposed to location based, assuming they end work at the same time every day and google knows what time that is, it could base its reminder off of that rather than you physically leaving work

  • Cole Mickens

    Another slightly modified guess would be "Internal API" is the API that they give out to the other Google teams to feed information into Now rather than a wide open Now API.

    • Nevi_me

      I like that guess

  • ltredbeard

    Wait...Ron left?

    • Taco Monster

      Jeezus...

      • ltredbeard

        I'm sorry my busy schedule offended you...

        • Felipe Pimenta

          Don't worry, I only realized this a few days ago also (difference is that I come here daily...)

    • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

      Yes, and he hasn't posted a goodbye note or anything, how rude.

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

        Post/not posting a goodbye note is not my decision. I posted stuff on G+, though.

        • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

          You have? i'm not saying you haven't but i had a look at your G+ page when i found out last week and i didn't see it. I'll look again :-)

          • David Spivey

            He didn't have the REMINDERS_LEAVING_TRIGGER flag in his Google Now apk at the time, so he forgot to leave a note.

  • Taco Monster

    Awesome stuff! Any hints on Car Mode?

    • mechapathy

      This is a feature that seems to have been completely dismissed by Google. Car Home hasn't been updated since early 2011, and has been incompatible with anything 4.0+. I use inDrive. It's excellent. I have an NFC tag hidden in my car dock which launches a Tasker task that enables GPS, raises the volume, and launches inDrive. This works perfectly for me.

  • https://abrah.am/ Abraham Williams

    There is already a limited API for getting data into Google Now. You basically just have to send the user an email with the right metadata and cards should show up.

    https://developers.google.com/gmail/schemas/google-now

    • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

      Wow neat, thanks for sharing that, I wasn't aware that they had this available. But it makes sense that they want to help people feed the filter better.

      Although a real API that supported totally custom types of cards (or at least a wider variety) would really open up some possibilities.

      And there really should be some tie-in with Glass/the Mirror API...

      • https://abrah.am/ Abraham Williams

        I wonder if Google will open up such a Now API. I'm guessing the last thing they want is the tidal wave of social notifications getting pushed into Now.

        • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

          Which is exactly what can happen with some Glass apps at the moment if they aren't well designed.

    • Thomas’

      So, if i send someone emails with these fake metadata, will they get a fake reservation in Now? ;-)

      • https://abrah.am/ Abraham Williams

        Probably. Although email anti-spam systems are pretty robust these days.

    • mechapathy

      Someone should tell Google how to format shipping notify emails, because Play Store orders NEVER show up as a tracking card.

  • Dave

    Any idea what "commute sharing" in the Now cards options are, and how it works?

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