After an unusually busy week of updates, Google capped it off with a late-Friday rollout of its central app. As we should expect, there aren't any immediately obvious changes to the interface from installing this update – those will appear in the coming weeks as Google switches them on remotely. However, we've got a teardown of the APK that covers some of what we'll be seeing in the future.
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.
Google Assistant for Households
We'll start off with the mention of a new feature for families called Google Assistant for Households. So far, the only clues to work with on this one are the name itself and a fairly vague description, which claims people living together will be able to use features of Google Assistant together.
You and your household are a team. Your Google Assistant can now treat you like one, helping you work and play together.
To me, this sounds like Google may be expanding services like calendars, reminders, and shopping lists so they can be commonly accessed by multiple people. For example, this could mean Assistant would become capable of working with the family calendar feature launched last year. There are several services available to family groups that have special extensions to allow shared data, so this could be a rich environment. Again, this is just a theory for what might be happening.
<string name="assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_title">Google Assistant for Households</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_subtitle">You and your household are a team. Your Google Assistant can now treat you like one, helping you work and play together.</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_title">Your Household</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_personal_info_household_title">Your Household</string>
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:paddingTop="88dp" android:layout_width="match_parent" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:paddingStart="16dp" android:paddingEnd="16dp">
<ImageView android:id="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_image" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:src="@drawable/household_illustration" android:scaleType="centerCrop" android:layout_alignParentTop="true" android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" />
<TextView android:textSize="18sp" android:textStyle="bold" android:textColor="@color/quantum_grey800" android:gravity="left|right|center_horizontal|fill_horizontal|center|fill|start|end" android:id="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_title" android:paddingTop="8dp" android:paddingBottom="18dp" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:text="@string/assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_title" android:layout_below="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_image" android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" />
<TextView android:textSize="14sp" android:textColor="@color/quantum_grey700" android:gravity="left|right|center_horizontal|fill_horizontal|center|fill|start|end" android:id="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_subtitle" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:text="@string/assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_subtitle" android:layout_below="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_title" android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" android:lineSpacingExtra="4dp" android:layout_alignStart="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_title" android:layout_alignEnd="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_title" />
<Button android:textSize="14sp" android:textColor="@color/quantum_white_text" android:id="@id/assistant_settings_household_setup_button" android:background="@drawable/household_raised_button" android:paddingLeft="16dp" android:paddingRight="16dp" android:layout_width="wrap_content" android:layout_height="wrap_content" android:layout_marginTop="44dp" android:text="@string/assistant_settings_household_setup_splash_screen_button_label" android:layout_below="@id/assistant_settings_household_splash_subtitle" android:layout_centerHorizontal="true" android:textAllCaps="true" style="@style/Widget.AppCompat.Button.Borderless.Colored" />
Access email and get payment help on Google Home
An interesting change to the language of some text points out that Google's Voice Match feature, which uses voice profiles to individually identify different users on Google Home, will allow users to get access to email, calendars, help with payments, and other personal details.
Since the original version of that text focused on calendars–which launched just a few months ago–and flight info, it looks like just the email and help with payments are new. Neither of these are really well-defined capabilities at this point, so it's hard to say precisely what it will mean to have access to either of these things. There is also a large description in the Voice Match enrollment section that mentions email, but doesn't add any other details.
<string name="personal_results_title">Get personal results with Voice Match</string>
<string name="personal_results_explanation">Voice Match is set up on your Assistant speaker.\n\nNow you can turn on personal results so you can use your voice to get your email, calendar, help with payments, and more on this device.\n\nYou can turn off personal results in Assistant settings.</string>
<string name="personal_results_action_button">Turn on</string>
<string name="personal_results_cancel_button">No Thanks</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_google_home_enrollment_intro_summary_unbundled">Voice Match helps your Assistant tell you apart from others by creating a unique model of your voice on this device.\n\nWhy set up Voice Match? You can use your voice to get personal results like your email and calendar events. You\'ll have a chance to turn on personal results after you set up Voice Match.\n\nKeep in mind\n- A similar voice or recording might be able to access your info, too.\n- You can turn off Voice Match in Assistant Settings</string>
<string name="personal_results_title">Allow personal results</string>
<string name="personal_results_explanation">The Google Assistant can use your personal info (e.g. calendar and flights) to assist you. Anyone speaking to the Assistant can access this info.</string>
Getting to your personal email might mean you'll merely get notifications, or it might mean you'll be able to ask questions and either get back cleverly interpreted answers, or at least be able to ask Google to read select email to you. As for payment help, it seems like the strings being named with the 'personal results' prefix is a sign that there may be access to payment history; although people are pretty touchy about that, so we may have to wait to see how Google ultimately defines it.
Follow-up: Reordering actions in Routines
While we're waiting for fully customizable routines to come out with the ability to create your own triggers and add any number of actions, it's nice to see some additional details are trickling out. The latest update includes a little more text that explains users can drag actions to reorder them within a routine. Yeah, I know, it's a relatively small interface detail, and one that was probably pretty predictable, but it's good to know since the current implementation doesn't allow actions to be reordered.
<string name="user_defined_action_reorder_description">Drag to change the order of actions in this routine.</string>
Follow-up: Maps on smart displays
Previous teardowns have briefly acknowledged that smart displays will be able to show details from Google Maps. The latest update adds a little more context to that with three lines pointing out that smart displays will be able to display images of restaurants, maps of restaurants, and interior panoramas of restaurants using Street View. Those first two are probably not surprising, but the use of Street View is a nice touch, and it hints at just how deep some of the features will go on smart displays as time goes on.
<string name="quartz_local_place_detail_map_tile_content_description">Map of the restaurant</string>
<string name="quartz_local_place_detail_street_view_tile_content_description">Interior street view panorama of the restaurant</string>
Follow-up: Alpha/Beta sign-up
In a minor update to the somewhat unusual text for the alpha and beta testing program discussed in v7.23, a subtle addition was made that crosses the boundary into a privacy disclosure. A second sentence was added that clarifies users may be personally identifiable and linked to how they're using the app "in some cases."
One critical note is that this line is written very much in the tone that it's not self-referential to Google; or said in more direct terms, this warning is probably intended for users that join any alpha/beta group, not one specifically for Google. If that's the case, the detail about personally identifiable information really just means that account-based services and apps may transmit bug reports and analytics with your account information included, something that's already true with many other apps.
The other stuff
There are some random bits of text that call for some quick hits, but they don't need a full section.
First, if you end up looking at an autoplaying video in the Google search results, there will be some hint text to let you know that double-tapping the thumbnail will open the full video.
We're still waiting for the return of the customizable search widget, but we know that a refinement to the interface has been in the works. There's not much to add, but a few new strings show work is still moving along and that there are a couple of specific locations for opening the editor: One is in the Google app menu under Customize Widget, and the other is in the Google app settings under Widget -> Customize your widget.
<string name="swc_settings_content">Go to Google App settings > Widget > Customize your widget</string>
<string name="customize_widget_summary">Edit the appearance of your homescreen search widget</string>
<string name="customize_widget_title">Customize your widget</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.