Like clockwork, the latest beta release of the Google app began rolling out just about the time the developers are headed out for the weekend. We've yet to see any live changes on this release, but there are some interesting additions to be found in a teardown. The floating sports tracker bubble appears to have some enhancements coming just in time for the Fall schedule, there are small additions to Collections and Google Assistant for Households, and a previously spotted General settings screen is growing larger
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.
Enhancements to the sports tracker bubble
Back in June, Google added a cool little floating bubble for tracking sports scores in real time. This was perfectly timed for fans to begin tracking the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Now that American Football season is upon us, Google is coming back to enhance the bubble and real time data.
There are new strings that tell us the bubble will be able to show starting times, penalties, and possibly have a button for expanding to show stats, news, and the timeline for games. There's also an informational line to hint that the bubble can be dismissed by dragging it to the bottom of the screen.
<string name="bubble_more_info_text">Stats, news and timeline</string>
<string name="bubble_starts_at">Starts at</string>
<string name="bubble_inactive_state_text">Match updates aren\'t available</string>
<string name="bubble_dismiss_text">Drag down to dismiss</string>
Be on the lookout, because this may already be live. I tried to find a game going on while this post was in progress, but I couldn't find any games that supported the bubble.
Follow-up: General settings
Back in the v8.21 teardown, the layout for a new "general" settings screen appeared, but hadn't gone into use yet. There wasn't really much to say about it as the settings described within the screen weren't new options, and the screen looked like it was just meant to be a new home for those settings. The trend now appears to continue in the latest update as three more settings are duplicated into this screen:
- Autocomplete with trending searches
Search suggestions will include popular searches in your area.
- Open web pages in the app
Stay in the Google app when you open search results or stories from the feed.
Block inappropriate images, videos, and sites from appearing in search results.
<string name="suggest_trends_title_hub">Autocomplete with trending searches</string>
<string name="suggest_trends_summary_hub">Search suggestions will include popular searches in your area.</string>
<string name="use_custom_tabs_title_hub">Open web pages in the app</string>
<string name="use_custom_tabs_summary_hub">Stay in the Google app when you open search results or stories from the feed.</string>
<string name="safe_search_summary_hub">Block inappropriate images, videos, and sites from appearing in search results.</string>
excerpt from /xml/general_hub.xml
<SwitchPreference android:persistent="true" android:title="@string/suggest_trends_title_hub" android:key="@string/suggest_trends_preference" android:summary="@string/suggest_trends_summary_hub" android:defaultValue="true"/>
<SwitchPreference android:persistent="true" android:title="@string/safe_search_title_hub" android:key="@string/safe_search_preference" android:summary="@string/safe_search_summary_hub" android:defaultValue="false"/>
<SwitchPreference android:persistent="true" android:title="@string/use_custom_tabs_title_hub" android:key="@string/use_custom_tabs_preference" android:summary="@string/use_custom_tabs_summary_hub" android:defaultValue="true"/>
Here are their current locations:
At this stage, it looks like this will become a home to settings most people are likely to want access to, whereas most of the other settings screens are more likely to have defaults people are more likely to leave in place. At least that's my interpretation of the pattern that's emerging, but there might be a different logic to it.
New collection: Experiences
This is really just a small detail, but the title for a new automatic collection type has been added. It appears that "Experiences" will join the list of types like: images, places, recipes, itineraries, and others.
I can only assume experiences will contain things like events and attractions, but the term is vague enough that it could be intended for something else.
Follow-up: Google Assistant for Households
There's really nothing of substance here, but a new background image was added and it has a really clever design with various icons taking the shape of buildings in a neighborhood.
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.