Over the past month, Google’s Play Music application received a couple of interesting updates introducing new icon styling and also giving users the ability to finally listen to podcasts. So what will the next step be for Play Music and its user base; what new features might Google add in the foreseeable future? Well, this is a difficult question to answer without having any official clues from Google, but interestingly enough, an XDA-Developers user recently found a hidden microphone icon within Play Music, which might indicate that the application will eventually support in-app voice controls.
XDA-Developers user going by the forum name “Maxr1998” has discovered a hidden microphone button in the Play Music playback user interface. The button is inactive and doesn’t trigger any events when tapped, but after a bit more digging, Maxr1998 also discovered that the microphone button is connected to backend services that have been disabled, or have yet to be enabled. The user adds that he was able to get the microphone button working, claiming that its function is reserved for in-app voice controls. The source is also of the opinion that the feature will be coming “soon”.
On the other hand, as good as in-app voice controls may sound for Android smartphone owners who tend to use their devices hands-free, this feature seems somewhat redundant considering the fact that Google Now already offers voice controls for music playback. In fact, perhaps the only reason to use the aforementioned microphone button from the playback screen within Play Music would be if the “OK Google From any screen” setting would be disabled in the voice detection settings menu. Otherwise, OK Google works just fine for controlling music playback from any screen using only your voice. Then again, perhaps Google is working on a more advanced in-app voice control system for Play Music and the hidden microphone button might make sense alongside other software additions. Either way, although the XDA-Developer user believes that the hidden microphone button is not a resource bug, only time will tell whether or not the feature will actually be added with a future update to Play Music.