Ever since the Google app moved to weekly releases, often with several minor updates along the way, notable changes have been spread out. This update brought the rollout of Android Auto integration for Google Podcasts, but aside from that, the last few updates have been pretty conservative with their changes. As a result, teardowns from the last few versions are getting bundled together in a single post to keep things cleaner for our readers.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

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.

German is the next Continued Conversation language

Continued Conversion is the feature that allows users to speak a command to Google Assistant, then follow up without repeating the activation phrase. This began working just for English speakers in the United States. The availability text was later changed to suggest that the feature was in testing for English speakers in other regions. Now a new modification to the text indicates Google's next target is to support German speakers.

The phrase that matters simply reads: "We are also currently dogfooding the following locales: all English locales, German (DE)."

--new--
<string name="assistant_settings_summer_time_mode_availability_clarification_override">Continued Conversation is currently available for English (US). If you use Google Home devices not shown here, the person with the primary account on those devices may turn Continued Conversation on or off in their Assistant settings.\10We are also currently dogfooding the following locales: all English locales, German (DE).</string>
--old--
<string name="assistant_settings_summer_time_mode_availability_clarification_all_en_launch">Continued Conversation is currently available for all English users. If you use Google Home devices not shown here, the person with the primary account on those devices may turn Continued Conversation on or off in their Assistant settings.</string>

Google seems to be moving cautiously with rollouts of Continued Conversation, which is fairly evident from the fact that English speakers outside the US are still waiting for it, so I wouldn't expect German to appear in the very near future. Nevertheless, this leaves little doubt that German will probably be the next supported language.

Leaving shared Collections

If you're an avid user of Collections, Google's replacement for Saved Pages, you might find that you're looking for a way to leave a Collection that has been shared with you. Well, that is evidently in the works, assuming it's not already appearing. A new item and text has been added that will let you do just that.

strings
<string name="collections_detail_leave">Leave Collection</string>
<string name="collections_dialog_leave_collection_dialog_message">Leaving will remove this shared collection from your list of collections.</string>
<string name="collections_dialog_leave_collection_dialog_message_cancel">Keep collection</string>
<string name="collections_dialog_leave_collection_dialog_message_confirm">Leave</string>
<string name="collections_dialog_leave_collection_dialog_title">Leave collection?</string>/menu/collections_detail_overflow_menu.xml
<item android:id="@+id/collections_detail_leave_menu_item" android:title="@string/collections_detail_leave"/>

There's not much to this, a dialog simply lets you know that leaving a shared collection will remove it from your list. Pretty straightforward, but for those that are looking for this, now you know.

Tweak to hiding Slices

Google introduced Slices earlier this year at Google I/O as a way to expose very small fragments of apps through the search interface. We're still waiting to see this feature fully emerge, but in the meantime, there's a small change to the way they'll work if you decide to hide any.

New text explains that hiding a Slice will simply prevent it from appearing in AutoComplete for 30 days. This is different from the old text that implied slices were hidden indefinitely.

strings
--new--
<string name="suggest_slice_removal_title">Hide for 30 days?</string>
<string name="suggest_slice_removal_body">This content comes from %s and is related to what you are typing. Hiding this content will remove it from AutoComplete for 30 days.</string>
<string name="suggest_slice_removal_body_default_app_name">an installed app</string>

--old--
<string name="suggest_slice_removal_title">Hide this slice from your search suggestions?</string>
<string name="suggest_slice_removal_body">This content comes from an installed app and is related to what you’re typing. Hiding this suggestion will remove it from this list.</string>

Possible tweaks to search filters [v8.65]

Google has added, changed, iterated, and totally replaced the search interface within the Google app many times. Judging by a bundle of new lines, it looks like we'll be seeing some search filters added soon. Most of the list is built around image search, and some of the filters would be entirely new to the app while others have been there for a while. There are also a few other filters for specific types of sites, including Blogs and Discussions.

strings
<string name="corpus_name_images_animated">GIF</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_black_and_white">Black &amp; White</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_clip_art">Clip Art</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_face">Face</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_funny">Funny</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_large">Large</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_latest">Recent</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_lifestyle">Lifestyle</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_memes">Memes</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_product">Product</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_quotes">Quotes</string>
<string name="corpus_name_images_recipe">Recipe</string><string name="corpus_name_intent_flights">Flights</string>
<string name="corpus_name_intent_maps">Maps</string><string name="corpus_name_websearch_apps">Apps</string>
<string name="corpus_name_websearch_blogs">Blogs</string>
<string name="corpus_name_websearch_discussions">Discussions</string>
<string name="corpus_name_websearch_nearby">Nearby</string>

Herbie icon [v8.65]

We've talked in the past about an upcoming project codenamed Herbie, which appears to bring a better Assistant experience to users in the car. While there's nothing too new to report here, there is now a small indicator icon that shares the Herbie name. For those that can't recognize shapes, the icon resembles a standard 12-volt DC plug that is commonly used in cars (a.k.a. the cigarette lighter socket). So, now we have an icon. Cool.

Updated widget preview [v8.70]

Left: old preview. Right: new preview.

While there are pixel-level tweaks here and there, the biggest visual change to be spotted is the preview for the Google search bar widget. It may or may not update for you right away, but the new look trades out the rectangular corners in favor of the now-standard pill shape. Of course, once you add the widget to the home screen, you can customize its look as you see fit — this is just the preview image.

Browsing podcast topics [v8.70]

A small addition was made that seems to go with the upcoming ability to search for podcast episodes. Judging from the new line, you'll be able to pick a podcast episode and then look at its topic list, which likely comes from a chapter list if one is provided, or possibly from a list generated from Google's own algorithm.

<string name="suggested_queries_title">Explore topics in this episode</string>

News player controls [v8.70]

Google has been dedicating a lot of effort toward personalized news feeds, first taking form in the Discover tab, but also with multimedia offerings intended for playback on the various Google Home-enabled products. We've already seen signs that more settings are coming to the Google app, and now there are strings for a player control. The basic settings are represented: Play, Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind, and Skip. There's also a setting for changing the playback speed. It's all pretty normal stuff.

strings
<string name="omp_media_type_news">News</string>
<string name="omp_pause">Pause</string>
<string name="omp_play">Play</string>
<string name="omp_rewind">Rewind</string>
<string name="omp_fast_forward">Fast forward</string>
<string name="omp_skip_next">Skip to the next item</string>
<string name="omp_skip_previous">Skip to the previous item</string>
<string name="omp_toggle_play_pause">Toggle between play and pause</string><string name="omp_finish_selection">Select %1$s playback speed</string>
<string name="omp_playing_at_speed">Playing at %1$s speed</string><string name="omp_just_now">Just now</string>
<string name="omp_link_to_playlist_page">Link to show page</string>
<string name="omp_playback_completed">Completed</string>
<string name="omp_playback_end_of_queue_error_message">You have reached the end of the queue.</string>
<string name="omp_playback_progress">Playback progress</string>
<string name="omp_playback_status_buffering">Buffering…</string>
<string name="omp_view_detail">View details</string>
<string name="omp_view_detail_of_media_item">View details of %1$s</string>
<string name="omp_playback_panel_error">Unable to play</string>
<string name="omp_collapse_player">Collapse player panel</string>
<string name="omp_done">Done</string><string name="omp_playback_error_cancel">Cancel</string>
<string name="omp_playback_error_message">This media couldn’t be played. Please try again later.</string>
<string name="omp_connection_error_message">Check your connection and try again</string>
<string name="omp_generic_error_message">Something went wrong</string>
<string name="omp_playback_error_ok">OK</string>
<string name="omp_playback_error_retry">Try again</string>
<string name="omp_offline_error_title">You’re offline</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.

Google
Google
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free