Google has begun rolling out the latest update to its signature search app to the beta channel. Version 7.22 appears to be a bit less ambitious than most recent updates, as existing features don't seem to be changing and most of the upcoming features aren't getting any major changes. Actually, most of the teardown is about follow-ups to things we've already known about. Nevertheless, there are new topics to discuss, so let's get right into it.

What's New

Left: v7.21. Right: v7.22.

If you're a fan of pixel-level differences, there probably isn't much that tugs at your heartstrings more than some rounded corners. Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme, but the latest update does bring some rounded corners to an obscure spot in the app: The Customize Feed screen. Since almost everything else in the Google app has rounded corners, even search results, this was just like wrapping up a loose end. – Thanks, Jonny5.

This is the only visible change that has popped up since updating, but this app is notorious for enabling features after rollout, so keep an eye open for other things that may come alive with time.


Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.

Purchases Page for Google Assistant

We've know for a while that buying things with Google Assistant would become a relatively common activity. In fact, you can already order a few things through a Google Home today, but the selection of voice-ready retailers is still pretty limited. As we get closer to the launch of smart displays, which will certainly provide – and probably even feature – the ability to buy things with ease, Google is getting ready to add a dedicated page to the Google Assistant settings screen, and it's 100% focused on your purchases.

<string name="assistant_settings_purchases_title">Purchases</string>
<string name="assistant_purchases_preference">assistantPurchases</string>

The new Purchases entry will appear in the list of services at the bottom of the Assistant settings screen, directly between Shopping List and Shortcuts. It looks like it will have some purchasing settings, and it's likely to also include a list of recent orders.

Search widget enhancements

Google added a customizable search widget back in October, making it possible to style a search bar so it could fit into most launchers and themes without standing out too much. New additions to the APK suggest there are improvements planned for the editor.

To begin with, a Customize Widget command will be added to the navigation menu (launch the Google app and tap on the bottom icon to the far right with three horizontal lines). You'll be able to reach the widget editor from here. I have a feeling this means the overflow menu will be removed to prevent people from accidentally hitting it, and all changes to the widget will be done through this route.

<string name="search_widget_customization">Customize Widget</string>
<string name="customize_widget_topdeck">Tap to customize your widget</string>

<string name="swc_title">To edit your widget again</string>
<string name="swc_settings_content">Go to Google App settings &gt; Widget.</string>
<string name="swc_settings_positive_button">Got it</string>

from: navigation_menu.xml
< android:id="@id/customize" android:tag="ve=13165;track:click" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content" thegoogle:imageSrc="@drawable/ic_customize_feed" thegoogle:text="@string/customize" />< android:id="@id/search_widget_customization" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content" thegoogle:imageSrc="@drawable/quantum_ic_auto_awesome_white_24" thegoogle:text="@string/search_widget_customization" />< android:id="@id/manage_searches" android:tag="ve=35843;track:click" android:visibility="gone" android:layout_width="fill_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content" thegoogle:imageSrc="@drawable/ic_manage_search" thegoogle:text="@string/search_queue_activity_title" />

Of course, you can't always get a perfect sense of what a widget will look like if it's only visible by itself in the editor. There will be another option that makes the final fine-tuning way more convenient. Users will be given the option to add a button to the widget that can be used to immediately reload the editor.

<string name="swc_snowman_content">You can add a button to your widget to come back. Would you like to add it?</string>
<string name="swc_snowman_negative_button">No</string>
<string name="swc_snowman_positive_button">Yes</string>

Since there are many people that never even got the customizable search widget, and still more for which it was available and then vanished, it's promising to see that things are happening here. It was starting to look like Google was on board with this, but changed plans shortly after launch.

Follow-ups (for the curious)

Most updates to the Google app carry at least a few tweaks and adjustments to phrasing, and often add a few new lines of text that will be used when a feature launches, or sometimes even after it's already live. This particular update was pretty heavy with these changes. Rather than re-describe everything, I'm going to just list the additions and link back to the original coverage.

A few more lines were added for Tuning your Google Feed. The top line hints that there will be a list of things to choose from, and you'll see less of them (or it).

<string name="reaction_follow_up_see_less_of">See less of:</string>
<string name="reaction_follow_up_title">Got it. We\'ll tune your feed</string>
<string name="reaction_follow_up_undo">UNDO</string>

More text was added for Quartz, the codename for the smart display interface. Most of it has to do with formatting reader-friendly ways to express dates and times, but there are also some lines related to shopping and one for muting the microphone.

<string name="quartz_shopping_cart_free_delivery">FREE Delivery</string>
<string name="quartz_shopping_cart_item_quantity">QTY %s</string>
<string name="quartz_shopping_cart_subtotal_label">Subtotal</string>
<string name="quartz_shopping_offer_add_to_cart_button_caption">Add to cart</string>
<string name="quartz_shopping_offer_buy_button_caption">Buy now</string>
<string name="quartz_show_resetdialog_button">Reset Quartz</string>

<string name="quartz_alarm_everyday">Everyday</string>

<string name="quartz_voice_plate_mic_muted">The microphone is muted.</string>

<plurals name="quartz_notification_home_show_all_notifications">
<item quantity="other">%1$d more notifications</item>
<item quantity="one">%1$d more notification</item>
<plurals name="quartz_relative_time_days">
<item quantity="other">%dd</item>
<item quantity="one">%dd</item>
<plurals name="quartz_relative_time_hours">
<item quantity="other">%dh</item>
<item quantity="one">%dh</item>
<plurals name="quartz_relative_time_minutes">
<item quantity="other">%dm</item>
<item quantity="one">%dm</item>
<plurals name="quartz_relative_time_years">
<item quantity="other">%dy</item>
<item quantity="one">%dy</item>

Voice-enabled services that work with Google Assistant already support user ratings, but they don't provide much insight beyond that. But they will also get user reviews at some point in the future. There has already been a trickle of clues for this one going back a couple of months, but never enough to put together much of a topic.

<string name="explore_review_edit_hint">Write your review</string>
<string name="explore_review_finish">Finish</string>
<string name="explore_review_view_pager_indicator_dot_description">Page %1$d of %2$d</string>
<plurals name="user_review_histogram_review_num">
<item quantity="other">Rated by %d people</item>
<item quantity="one">Rated by %d person</item>

<string name="user_reviews_read_all_header">Read All</string>
<string name="user_reviews_summary_title">Latest Reviews</string>

<string name="review_feedback_inappropriate">Inappropriate</string>
<string name="review_feedback_menu">overflow menu to mark spam or inappropriate</string>
<string name="review_feedback_posted">Thanks for your feedback!</string>
<string name="review_feedback_spam">Spam</string>
<string name="reviewer_avatar">The profile image for the reviewer</string>
<string name="reviewer_comment_date">Reviewed on %1$s</string>

<string name="agent_reviews_no_results">No reviews for \"%1$s\"</string>

And finally, Routines are still a work in progress. There's not much to see, but two new strings at least prove Routines haven't been forgotten. However, beyond proof of life, we're just looking at a couple of error messages, so there's not really very much else to say.

<string name="user_defined_action_trigger_phrase_in_use">\"%1$s\" already exists.</string>
<string name="user_defined_action_trigger_phrase_validation_failed">Could not check this trigger phrase. Please try again.</string>


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Version: 7.22.17

Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free