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offline search

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[Update: May enable Google Assistant on non-Pixels] Google App v6.13 "alpha" appears with support for Payments on Google Assistant, and prepares enhanced Offline Search, Lite Mode, Recent page, and much more [APK Teardown + Download]

Some users signed up to the Google app beta channel have been receiving an unusual "alpha" release of v6.13 update. It's not entirely clear if this was meant to find its way into the wild, and judging by many inoperable and buggy issues, I suspect it wasn't. All the same, it's out and contains some pretty interesting things. To begin with, this version enables some features that had previously been seen in testing like a page of recent search topics and lite mode. There is also a process to add payment information for use with Google Assistant. Diving into a teardown brings back some previously seen features and adds a couple of new ones to the list.

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Google is rolling out offline search to help counter spotty connections

The power of Google searches has always had an Achilles heel: terrible connections. Whether you have little to no mobile signal or less than stellar WiFi connectivity, you know the frustration when you're trying to look something up. There is nothing to counter this, but Google has officially rolled out an "offline search" feature which will deliver your searches to you when an adequate signal becomes available.

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Google Search is testing new Recent tab, Offline and Lite search modes

Google is on a testing spree with server-side changes in the main Search app. Based on feedback from several readers, it looks like there might be changes afoot to the side menu, introducing a new feature and improving on ones we've seen before but that haven't been widely implemented yet.

Recent search tab

Whenever you perform a search within the Google app or widget, you have a couple of ways to access it again: you either remember the exact words you used and try the same search, or you access your Google activity dashboard, or you use the trick of tapping the Google icon to open a consequent search as a separate page to leave the previous one lurking.

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Google app v6.9 beta is preparing to offer smarter autocomplete suggestions, search offline maps, and introduce a custom image viewer [APK Teardown]

Android Auto users were given a pleasant surprise when v6.9 of the Google app enabled the 'OK Google' activation phrase while driving (for many people). We haven't spotted any other visible changes with this release, but there are some interesting things buried in the apk that are also worth checking out. It looks like the search bar's autocomplete is about to gain some new tricks and there's a new (or at least improved) native image viewer in development that appears to have custom support for some of Google's custom search results.

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