The latest beta version of the Google app has been released and gives us a glimpse into a few new features the company is developing for Assistant. The guys over at 9to5Google did an APK teardown of the app and have shared their findings with the public.
We have heard quite a few rumors so far claiming that the upcoming Pixel smartphones will feature a squeezable frame, just like the HTC U11. The APK teardown kind of confirms this, as it mentions an “Active Edge” feature and the ability to “Squeeze for your Assistant.” This means that you’ll be able to launch Google’s digital assistant by squeezing either of the two Pixel devices, but there’s no word if the feature will allow you to perform any other tasks like, for instance, opening an app of your choice.
Back at I/O 2017, Google introduced Shortcuts that allow you to set up custom, short commands for Assistant. For example, the phrase “Workout time” can tell Assistant to play workout tracks on Google Play Music. It looks like the company is now expanding this feature with what it calls “Routines” which enable you to perform more than one task with the help of Assistant using a single command.
The APK teardown also revealed we might see new hotwords for Assistant, which are used to get its attention. However, it’s not clear if you’ll just select a different hotword from a list or be able to make one up yourself.
You might also have the option to change Assistant’s voice, and choose from a variety of relaxing “sleep sounds” that will automatically stop playing when you fall asleep. The last thing worth mentioning is that Google may add more podcast-related commands including “Continue last played podcast.”
Just keep in mind that all of the features mentioned are just assumptions based on code found in the APK teardown, so there’s always a chance they might not be released at all.
Which feature do you find the most useful? Let us know in the comments.