Teardowns are an interesting practice, providing insights, false leads and sprinkles of the future. On the hardware front we get to see the changes made to the interior workings of a smartphone, like the new Galaxy Note 7 teardown that shows how the design has changed since the Note 5 to add water-resistance. But app teardowns tend to point more to the future than hardware and the latest Google app teardown is no different, revealing a few details about the new Google Assistant coming in Android 7.0 Nougat.
The team at Android Police did the teardown formalities on Google App v6.3 beta, which in itself, didn’t reveal anything too earth shattering in terms of new features. The translate feature has been prioritized from a temperamental Google Now on Tap card to a permanent fixture of the overflow menu. The Google Now card still appears and does the same thing, but the overflow menu location is much more convenient (and consistent).
But on to the Google Assistant. Other than finally adding the logo for Google Assistant (which we saw at Google I/O), there are also hints that Google Assistant will only be available at launch in English and German, and may be geographically restricted to these locations as well, at least initially.
The U.S. will obviously be covered and if Germany is too, then we can only hope our friends in the UK will also be able to use Google Assistant at launch. Other regions and languages may well be added prior to launch but even if they’re not, they will likely follow soon after, just as they did with Google Now language support.
The teardown also revealed some further settings screen details, including two new toggles and a voice command action. The toggles refer to turning the Assistant on or off (so if it creeps you out you can simply disable it) and another that allows you to control whether or not the Assistant can read the contents of your screen in order to provide relevant information.
Customizable voice commands
If all of this sounds a lot like Google Now on Tap, that’s likely because Google Assistant is largely an expanded Now on Tap/voice search. But we can already see how Assistant takes things further. There are deeper integrations with Google Home and most interestingly, further details on the “personal voice actions” or customizable voice commands.
User-defined actions are an awesome idea, kind of bringing IFTTT functionality to Google Now voice commands. You will be able to define your own phrases and add specific actions, so you can talk to Google Assistant in ways that are more natural to you and teach it exactly what outcomes you prefer. There’s a lot of educated guesswork going on in these extrapolations of the code, so feel free to hit the source link and draw your own conclusions.
What would you like to see in Google Assistant? Do you think Now on Tap will be retired?