A lot of people love getting to beta test something and give feedback on how to improve new features before they hit the general public, and they often end up signing up for the beta versions of certain Android apps from Google Play. Many of those same people love a good old fashioned APK teardown, revealing all of the things that the app developers don't really want the public to know, or may not be ready to fully reveal yet. Naturally, this means that a great many people would love to hear what secrets the newest beta version of the Google app APK has to offer. Courtesy of Android Police, that APK has been laid bare, and the findings point to a much more driver-friendly Google app experience in the near future. Some hints of upcoming Google Assistant functionality are also in the APK.
For starters, a special setting has popped up that will allow users to have the OK Google hotword active while driving, as well as integrating hotword detection into Maps and Android Auto. This would allow those who don't want the functionality always on to have voice commands handy while driving without having to press a button or mess around with their phone. This also allows hotword detection during Android Auto, which some users were reporting as not working even if they have the phone set to always listen for the hotword on any screen.
Along with the car functionality comes a few more lines of code that point to what functions Google Assistant may serve, once it's ready for launch. First off, code in the app seems to include a preferences section for Assistant, allowing the user to make changes from their phone that will affect their account on all devices with interactions for the music, news, Google Cast, shopping lists, and more. The new Assistant code also gives an idea of how the initial rollout could look, with some bits of code pointing to only having it available on Nexus devices and on Google Home, though there's no way to tell how long it will stay that way. Some new Google Now commands are buried in the APK, such as one to fire up driving mode. Rounding out the teardown's stash of secrets, there are a few bits and bobs meant to make your phone work well with Internet of Things and your smart home. Those to grab the latest version of the Google App can do so by hitting the buttons below to download the APK.