The latest Google Android app beta, ‘version 10.20,’ only just rolled out to testers, but a teardown has already revealed work on an upcoming ‘Ambient Mode’ and more.
App teardowns take APK files uploaded to the Play Store and decompile them to get a peek at the code inside. Sometimes this reveals work on upcoming features and updates. However, it’s important to remember that some things revealed by a teardown may change before the update’s release, or even be scrapped in favour of other features. That said, let’s dig in.
Several of the features revealed by the 9to5Google teardown continue to build on those spotted in Google app version 10.16, which came out earlier this week. Specifically, 10.16 includes several lines of code about Assistant features on the ambient display. 10.20 adds more code strings that suggest users will be able to select options like ‘Play night sounds’ and tap ‘What’s the weather’ on the always-on display.
Additionally, Assistant on the ambient display received a new name in the code: Ambient Mode. Another bit of code includes the text “Do more while your device is locked and charging,” suggesting Ambient Mode could work similarly to the Pixel 3 when placed on a Pixel Stand. Another code string says that this mode will support Voice Match as well.
On top of this, 9to5 uncovered another bit of code pointing to a new customization feature for Assistant. The functionality allows users to specify interests to the Assistant so it can provide more relevant help throughout the day. However, users would have to pick from pre-defined ‘areas’ for the function to work.
Finally, it looks like Google could add a new ‘Shortcuts’ section to Assistant’s Explore page — essentially a mini app store for Assistant Actions. It’s not clear what Shortcuts are, but it could be something like Siri Shortcuts, an iOS app that lets users create their own ‘recipes’ for doing specific tasks on their phones.
The Google app beta is available now on the Play Store. If you aren’t enrolled, you can join the beta through the app’s Play Store page. These new features aren’t currently present in the beta, however.