It's Friday afternoon and that means there's probably going to be a Google app update. The latest version doesn't appear to change much on the surface, so we'll be looking to the teardown for more information. Details are a bit thin with this update as most of the topics are little more than breadcrumbs, but we'll take a look at a new feature called the Memory Aid Locker, the first substantial pieces of a Top Apps view, and a cut-and-dry implementation of Google Translate for smart displays.

What's New

For those that love to follow the changes to icons, Google has replaced a couple of old images in this update.

The top pair, of course, includes the old Holo dialer icon, and sitting next to it is the current version. More interesting though is the Duo icon, which appears to contain the current version, while an as-yet unfamiliar (and flatter) version is on the right. I suppose this means Google Duo is about to get an icon refresh.

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.

Memory Aid Locker

Google is developing a new feature currently going by the name "Memory Aid Locker." So far, the nature of this thing isn't readily clear from the little bit there is to look at right now. The only clues are a name, a placeholder for a settings screen, and a layout that only contains a web view. A quick look through decompiled code doesn't give any more context, either – there's not much code to look at.

strings
<string name="assistant_settings_memory_locker_title">Memory Aid Locker</string>
<string name="assistant_memory_locker_preference">assistantMemoryLocker</string>

// excerpt from /xml/assistant_main_settings.xml
<PreferenceScreen android:icon="@drawable/quantum_ic_list_grey600_24" android:persistent="false" android:title="@string/assistant_settings_memory_locker_title" android:key="@string/assistant_memory_locker_preference" android:widgetLayout="@layout/preference_widget_next" android:fragment="com.google.android.apps.gsa.assistant.settings.features.memorylocker.MemoryLockerSettingsFragment"/>// /layout/memory_locker_main.xml
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto" xmlns:aapt="http://schemas.android.com/aapt" android:gravity="top" android:orientation="vertical" android:layout_width="match_parent" android:layout_height="match_parent" android:elevation="2dp">
<WebView android:id="@+id/assistant_settings_memory_locker_webview" android:layout_width="match_parent" android:layout_height="match_parent" android:layout_marginBottom="42dp" android:layout_alignParentTop="true"/>
</RelativeLayout>

Given the name, my first guess is that this could be a new variation on saved pages, perhaps taking some inspiration from mind mapping tools to make it easier to organize information. There are naturally plenty of other possibilities relating to memory or storing information, so we'll just have to watch for further developments.

Live language translation on smart displays

One of the cooler features of Google Translate is its ability to enter a conversational mode for on the spot communication with somebody that doesn't share the same languages. A phone is the natural place for a service like this since you're most likely to need it while traveling, but you may find that you need help translating language inside your own home. Now that the first Assistant-powered smart displays are making their way into the market, Google will be bringing the live translation to the stationary screen.

<string name="quartz_interpreter_listening">Listening…</string>
<string name="quartz_interpreter_translating">Translating…</string>
<string name="quartz_interpreter_waiting_for_speech">Just start talking</string>

There's not much to look at with this one either, it's just an instruction to start talking and a couple more status messages to show when Assistant is listening and when it has begun translating.

Top Apps

For the last few versions, there have been little bits and pieces appearing that relate to a "Top Apps" feature. Thus far, it has been shaping up to be a directory of apps. While there hasn't been much of substance in the past, the latest update adds a list of popular app categories.

strings
<string name="topapps_google_category_header">Google</string>
<string name="topapps_apps_games_category_header">Games</string>
<string name="topapps_banking_category_header">Banking</string>
<string name="topapps_books_category_header">Books &amp; Literature</string>
<string name="topapps_education_category_header">Education</string>
<string name="topapps_entertainment_category_header">Entertainment</string>
<string name="topapps_food_category_header">Cooking &amp; Food</string>
<string name="topapps_government_category_header">Government</string>
<string name="topapps_health_category_header">Health</string>
<string name="topapps_jobs_category_header">Jobs</string>
<string name="topapps_news_category_header">News</string>
<string name="topapps_reference_category_header">Reference</string>
<string name="topapps_science_category_header">Science</string>
<string name="topapps_shopping_category_header">Shopping</string>
<string name="topapps_social_category_header">Social</string>
<string name="topapps_sport_category_header">Sports</string>
<string name="topapps_technology_category_header">Technology</string>
<string name="topapps_travel_category_header">Travel</string>

The list of categories appears to lean heavily toward informational topics – there's only one category to cover any and all games while there are much more granular topics like government, news, science, technology, and so on.

There is also a dedicated category for favorites, which users will be able to add manually.

<string name="topapps_favorites_category">Favorites</string>
<string name="topapps_favorites_category_header">Favorites</string>
<string name="topapps_added_to_favorites">Added to favorites</string>

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.

Be careful with this version. Much like the last version, there's a persistent bug that causes the Google app to routinely stop functioning. It's probably best to wait until another minor update before installing.

Google
Google
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free