20
Jun
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Right now, in the slide-out "hamburger" menu of most Google apps, there's a Help button, with a tiny circled question mark icon. If a user needs help with the app (or anything else), this button will pull up a web page. Once on the web page, users can browse through categories for help articles and potential solutions or, if all else fails, request a support call from Google.

It looks like Google wants to make that experience a little more elegant, though.

In recent updates to both YouTube and Wallet, we've seen code suggesting a new app-level feature called Google Help. Most of the hints toward this functionality come in the form of strings, referring to the same functionality users currently get on the web - the ability to browse help categories (with app-specific help as a starting point), read articles, and request a call with Google support staff. But instead of being handled through a web page, the Help interface would move to the app itself.

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Screenshot_2014-06-19-20-14-37 Screenshot_2014-06-19-20-15-15 Screenshot_2014-06-19-20-15-36 Screenshot_2014-06-19-20-15-48

Current web interface

Without going through the whole laundry list (there are a lot of relevant strings), here are a few highlights (present in both the YouTube and Wallet APK files).

<string name="gh_help_suggestions_title">Suggestions</string>
<string name="gh_help_browse_all_articles_title">Browse all articles</string>
<string name="gh_help_recent_articles_title">Recent Articles</string>
<string name="gh_help_search_title">Search results</string>
<string name="gh_help_topics_all">Help Topics</string>
<string name="gh_menu_phone">Call support</string>
<string name="gh_menu_click_to_call">Request a call</string>
<string name="gh_menu_email">Email support</string>
<string name="gh_menu_help">Help</string>
<string name="gh_menu_feedback">Feedback</string>

...

<string name="gh_menu_play_store">View in Google Play Store</string>
<string name="gh_menu_print">Print…</string>
<string name="gh_menu_clear_history">Clear help history</string>
<string name="gh_search_on_web">Search the web</string>
...

<string name="gh_cuf_rating_selection_prefix">Your rating: </string>
<string name="gh_cuf_required_field_description">* Required field</string>
<string name="gh_cuf_add_additional">Add Additional</string>
<string name="gh_cuf_confirmation_message">Your message was received. Thanks for contacting Google!</string>

So it looks like functionality will be almost exactly the same, except users will evidently be able to view their history of support calls/queries, and possibly provide feedback on their experience.

We've received additional information confirming that Google is indeed looking to make this process more native to Android, with a familiar interface making its way under any instance of the "Help" button.

This isn't a huge change, but it is certainly a welcome one. The current implementation, where a user transitions from a native app interface to the web for something as critical as help is far from an ideal user experience.

As for when we might see this change? Our information indicates that there is additional backend living in an updated version of Google Play Services, so hopefully we shouldn't have long to wait now.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • boogie_monster

    About time! I wonder what took them so long!

  • Excited guy

    Very exciting!

    0_0

  • Sruly J

    I like this addition, it hopefully will help all users in the Android community; both new and old.

    Although why does this post have the Silver tag?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      There was a time before this went to press that I thought this may be silver related, but the evidence doesn't concretely support that. Fixed now!

  • Melissa Peterson

    Shouldn't it be "Transitioning from the web to a native app interface..." instead of "Transitioning from a native app interface to the web..." or is there something I'm not getting?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Maybe I could make that sentence clearer - I meant the current implementation, where a user goes from a native app to the web, is not ideal.

  • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

    This has Android Silver written all over it.

    • Mini Mansell

      remember the embaracement when google BABEL never happened, even thought the tech blogs had sworn they knew all about it.

      Silver will be the same..

      • Sruly J

        Babel turned into Hangouts.
        Silver has a good chance of happening. And besides, it cant just be a coincidence that Samsung has been fast-ish with kit kat once they started rolling it out to devices. Same with the other OEMs

        • Mini Mansell

          really? can it not be a coincidence..

          so many people so desperate for copy that they are looking for ghosts and justifying it when they find a shadow.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            Hangouts

            This is just one of many strings still in the Hangouts APK. Babel actually did become Hangouts.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        Internally, Hangouts was called Babel, and in fact it's still called babel in some pieces of code. So yes, it did happen. It's just been a lot slower at wrapping things up than anticipated.

      • Guest

        Remember the embarrassment when you realized you were wrong AND can't spell?

        • Mini Mansell

          the standard reply from anyone found to be wrong on the net.
          criticise the spelling or the grammar

  • abobobilly

    I like this change. If there was one thing i hated and never used, was this specific thing. "Help" in apps. Now i would definitely click on that, without fearing that "i'll have to leave the app-space to a new one".

  • droid4lif3

    Awesome possum.

    • Anthony Tyson

      Kicks Dr. Machino's butt

  • ash

    It's there in new hangout update also which change yesterday

    • Walkop

      Did no one notice this? Hangouts DOES do this within the app to a limited extent; looks like its a webview, but it still shows the help within the app itself.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    FUCKING FINALLY!

  • aholsteinson

    Nice addition.

  • primalxconvoy

    I've always wondered why Google has never really invested in customer service and had a proper email customer support option for its apps.