Google began rolling out the traditional friday night update to the beta channel. Like so many other updates, this one brings with it minor tweaks to the interface. Of more interest are the topics for a teardown, which includes changes to Voice Match, migration of more settings for the home screen, and a bit more about KITT.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Feed is now truly rebranded to Discover

Feed -> Discover

It has been about a month since Google renamed Feed to Discover. Well, it was renamed in spirit, but if you poked around through the settings and widgets, you would be seeing a lot of stuff still bore the name Feed. With this update, it looks like that problem has been fixed – well, mostly. There are still quite a few strings left that refer to it as the feed, but let's not nitpick.

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.

Voice Match, changed

The Pixel 3 does not support Voice Match on the lockscreen, a decision that can surely be linked to security concerns. It's no surprise that Voice Match wouldn't be an option on any other phone for much longer.

A bunch of new text has been added that explains Voice Match has been "updated" to a more secure method to get personal results while a device is locked. As you can probably guess, it will be the same "Personal Results" toggle that took the place of Voice Match on the Pixel 3. Strictly speaking, this is just doing away with a full phone unlock and replacing it with specific results that can pull from your personal data.

 

I haven't seen any of this messaging or a prompt about the switch on any device running this release of the Google app, so it seems likely Google will roll this update out to everybody before flipping the switch.

strings
<string name="opa_trusted_voice_deprecation_promo_title">Updated Voice Match</string>
<string name="opa_trusted_voice_deprecation_promo_message">The Voice Match to unlock feature you\'ve been using has been replaced with a more secure way to get personal results while your device is locked. You can change this in your Assistant settings</string>
<string name="opa_trusted_voice_deprecation_promo_settings_text">SETTINGS</string>
<string name="opa_trusted_voice_deprecation_promo_cancel_text">OK</string><string name="upgrade_vm_title">Upgrade Voice Match on your other Assistant devices</string>
<string name="upgrade_vm_summary">It looks like you\'ve already set up Voice Match on these Assistant devices:</string>
<string name="upgrade_vm_legal_text">Why upgrade? Improve your Assistant\'s ability to recognize your voice, and benefit from enhanced security.\10\10What you\'re agreeing to: Upgrading Voice Match and letting Google create a unique model of your voice. This voice model is sent to Google when you speak to your Assistant, but only permanently stored on your Assitant devices. You can always remove Voice Match later in Assistant Settings.</string><string name="personal_response_on_lockscreen_title">Get personal results on your lock screen</string>
<string name="personal_response_on_lockscreen_message">Use Voice Match to access your email, calendar, contacts, and more when your phone is locked. You\'ll still need to unlock your phone for some actions, like purchases and sending messages.</string>
<string name="personal_response_on_lockscreen_turn_off">You can turn this off in Assistant settings.</string>
<string name="personal_response_on_lockscreen_learn_more">Learn more</string>
<string name="personal_response_on_lockscreen_agree_button">I agree</string>
<string name="personal_response_on_lockscreen_decline_button">No thanks</string>

<string name="trusted_dock_title_string">Allow personal results when using your Pixel Stand</string>
<string name="trusted_dock_message_string">Access your photos, email, calendar, contacts, and more when your phone is locked on your Pixel Stand. Your Assistant can also show personal results without you having to ask for them.</string>

Let's keep in mind that this doesn't mean Voice Match is itself going away, it just won't bypass the lockscreen anymore. It should continue to match your voice for the appropriate queries and operate on Google Home and other Assistant-powered platforms as it already does.

Home screen settings, expanded

The previous Google app update began loading up a brand new settings screen with options related to the home screen. Much like the "general" settings hub that we've seen over the last few updates, this will be the place Google keeps all of the settings for customizing the home screen. Two options were in that list: Whether the Feed Discover should be shown and if suggested apps were welcome.

The latest update brings a couple more to that list. One enables rotation of the home screen while the other determines if newly installed apps should add an icon automatically. Both of these options are already available in the current settings screen, so this will be a simple relocation.

<string name="homescreen_rotation_title">Home screen rotation</string>
<string name="homescreen_rotation_summary">Screen will automatically turn when phone is rotated.</string>
<string name="homescreen_rotation_preference">pref_allowRotation</string><string name="homescreen_add_shortcuts_label">Add icon to Home screen</string>
<string name="homescreen_add_shortcuts_summary">For new apps</string>
<string name="homescreen_add_icon_preference">pref_add_icon_to_home</string>excerpt from /xml/homescreen_settings.xml
<com.google.android.apps.gsa.search.core.preferences.HubSwitchPreference android:persistent="false" android:enabled="false" android:title="@string/homescreen_add_shortcuts_label" android:key="@string/homescreen_add_icon_preference" android:summary="@string/homescreen_add_shortcuts_summary"/>
<com.google.android.apps.gsa.search.core.preferences.HubSwitchPreference android:persistent="false" android:enabled="false" android:title="@string/homescreen_rotation_title" android:key="@string/homescreen_rotation_preference" android:summary="@string/homescreen_rotation_summary"/>

A bit more KITT

We've talked about KITT a few times. The codenamed is used for a project related to voice commands in the car. The latest update brings some new lines, but most of them aren't of much value for interpreting what's coming. However, two lines represent buttons for linking and unlinking from a car.

Android Auto has a similar system, which is basically just used to determine if a car should load up the Auto interface when connected or just charge the phone. It's interesting to see that KITT adding a form of linking with in-car systems because it might infer that whatever is being linked is possibly doing more than just transmitting audio from a microphone. Perhaps this is associated with Android Automotive (which is different from Android Auto). Beyond that, there's not much else to say about this right now, but it seems things are going to get more interesting as time goes on.

<string name="kitt_settings_link">Link</string>
<string name="kitt_settings_unlink">Unlink</string><string name="assistant_kitt_preference">assistantKitt</string>
<string name="kitt_agent_prefix_pref_key">kitt_agent_prefix_pref_key_</string>
<string name="kitt_description_pref_key">kitt_description_pref_key</string>
<string name="kitt_device_account_link_pref_key">kitt_device_account_link_pref_key</string>

New icons

New icons and looks are fairly common in Google's apps, so the group above isn't particularly unusual to see. Nevertheless, we've got new icons and they tend to resemble the outline style that is becoming more common in Google's apps with the latest iteration of Material.

File names:

  • agsa_hub_customize_search_widget
  • agsa_hub_help
  • agsa_hub_my_activity
  • agsa_hub_reminders
  • agsa_hub_saved
  • agsa_hub_send_feedback
  • agsa_hub_settings
  • agsa_hub_your_data_in_search

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