Google is gearing up for the weekend with another beta update to its self-named app. The latest version brings some very minor visual tweaks, but as usual, it's the teardown where the real activity can be found. The latest update expands a bit on the previously seen Your People screen and Google Assistant for Households by adding personal details to contacts. There will also be an option to enable or disable Assistant on the Pixel Buds while your phone's lockscreen is active. And finally, something called Dragon Glass is in the works.

What's New

Lockscreen option for Pixel Buds

If you're the proud owner of a pair of Pixel Buds, there is a new setting available for you that adds the option to enable or disable responses from Google Assistant if your phone's lockscreen is active. – Thanks to Anthony Maki for confirming!

Better keyboard icon

Left: v8.5. Right: v8.6. (Note the keyboard at the bottom left.)

If you're looking for what is evidently the biggest visual change, the keyboard icon on the Assistant popup page was updated in the latest version to be more keyboard-like. Both the keyboard and Lens icons are also a bit darker now, so they don't look like they're disabled anymore.

Teardown

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 wrong or inaccurate. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that products could change or may be canceled. 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. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.

Follow-up: Your People get details

Last month, a new 'Your People' screen appeared in the Google Assistant settings. Its purpose was fairly straightforward: This was a list of people known by Assistant that had some sort of relationship with you. The screen didn't seem to be fully operational, as it never actually displayed anything beyond its basic description. It was later removed from view.

While the Your People screen is still missing, new text in the APK adds more context about what it will be able to show. Evidently, you'll be able to ask Google Assistant to remember a contact's phone number, address, email, and birthday.

Quote
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_phone">Phone: %1$s</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_address">Address: %1$s</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_birthday">Birthday: %1$s</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_email">Email: %1$s</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_forget_button">Forget</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_forget_dialog">This will remove any details you\'ve asked your Assistant to remember about %1$s</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_forget_dialog_title">Forget these details?</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_your_people_forget_menu_option">Forget these details</string>

<string name="assistant_settings_contact_list_introduction">This is what you\'ve asked your Assistant to remember about people you know.</string>

These details will make it easier to give simple commands to Google Home and other Assistant-enabled devices. In short, you'll be able to give a command like "call my mom" without giving a specific name or giving a specific number to call.

Follow-up Google Assistant for Households

A very similar batch of text was added to another previously mentioned feature: Google Assistant for Households. So far, we've only seen a little bit about this one, including a vague line of text and some placeholders. The additions show that the people you're living with will be attributed a birthday and phone number, plus their relationship to you.

Quote
<string name="assistant_settings_household_edit_subtitle">Add more information about %s</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_edit_birthday_title">Birthday</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_edit_phone_number_title">Phone number</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_edit_relationship_title">Relationship</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_edit_button_description">Image of the button for editing member details</string>
<string name="assistant_settings_household_calendar_image_description">Image of calendar</string>

<string name="assistant_settings_household_member_birthday">%d / %d / %d</string>

The purpose for these details is just as clear – we'll be using them to simplify voice commands.

While it makes sense that these features exist, it doesn't really make sense at this point why they aren't combined into a single interface with the exact same fields. This will probably make more sense as the implementation fills out a bit more.

Dragon Glass

Google may have come up with the coolest codename yet: Dragon Glass. I don't care what it is, I want it just for the name.

The subjects of interest here are the lines relating to personal results. It might be better to call them disclaimers since they're really just warnings that Assistant will have access to your calendar, contacts, reminders and other bits of information if the setting is enabled, and any person with unfettered access to the device may be able to see or hear those results.

Where there previously was just a single version of the text for each of these warnings, there are now two. The existing variants were renamed with "non_dragonglass" at the end, while the new versions bear the full "dragonglass" name proudly.

Quote

<string name="hotword_enrollment_personal_results_explanation_dragonglass">Voice Match has been set up.

Now you can turn on personal results to use your voice to access your calendar, contacts, reminders and more on this device.

Personal results, plus personalized YouTube recommendations, can also appear - without you having to ask for them - on the Home screen and as notifications. Note that curious bystanders can also tap and act on these results.

You can turn off personal results in Assistant settings.</string>
<string name="hotword_enrollment_personal_results_explanation_non_dragonglass">Voice Match has been set up.

Now you can turn on personal results to use your voice to access your calendar, contacts, reminders and more on this device.

You can turn off personal results in Assistant settings.</string>

<string name="personal_results_explanation_dragonglass">Turn on personal results to access your calendar, contacts, reminders and more on this device.

Personal results can also appear - without you having to ask for them - on the Home screen and as notifications.

Note that anyone using this device can get your personal results, too. You can turn off personal results in Assistant settings.</string>
<string name="personal_results_explanation_non_dragonglass">Turn on personal results to access your calendar, contacts, reminders and more on this device.

Note that anyone using this device can get your personal results, too. You can turn off personal results in Assistant settings.</string>

Aside from the novelty of the codename, it's fairly obvious the dragonglass device has a screen, especially since one passage mentions that YouTube recommendations may appear on the home screen and in notifications. Judging by the phrasing, I would tend to expect the device to be a smart display, but I wouldn't call that a certainty. Outside of that, there's not much else to extract from these lines.

Download

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.

Google
Google
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free