Version 7.4 of the beta version of the Google app is now on its way out to devices and while it is still unclear as to whether this version contains anything new at the user level, a teardown of the app by Android Police has revealed that the app is being readied for some new Google Home and Google Assistant improvements.
In terms of Google Home, the latest version of the Google app seems to be preparing for the arrival of Google Home’s new ability to allow users to make hands-free calls. According to the details noted in the teardown, the user will be able to link their phone service to the Google Home device and this will act as the backbone of the service. Opposed to actually having the call take place on the owner’s device and streamed over to the Google Home unit. However, at the moment the same strings of code do seem to suggest that this feature will only be available to outgoing calls - users will not be able to accept incoming calls in the same way. Although this could be subject to change before the feature arrives, or even after the fact.
As for the Google Assistant, this latest version of the Google beta app is also showing evidence that Google intends to improve the issue of multiple Assistant-enabled devices in the same location. While the details on this are vague and not exacting, the suggestion is that a brief warning will show up on the owner’s smartphone when a command is initiated through a Google Assistant-enabled device. This warning will then allow the user to quickly tap to ensure that the command occurs through the phone, and not an additional Google Assistant device in the home - for instance, Google Home. The warning simply will explain that the command has been initiated elsewhere and the user can then quickly respond if needed to ensure the smartphone takes over the command. Besides the home and Assisted improvements, there also seems to be some underlying features which might become active soon and could be more far-reaching. One picked up on is a feature that seemingly will rely on ‘notification access’ to help improve the overall Google experience. The details on this are extremely limited, but the code seems to make the point that by watching notifications (pending the user's permission), the app will be able to “help you find your contacts and messages.”
As is usually the case with such reports, while the new features are being spotted at the string-level, they are not quite ready for user-consumption yet. So while there are now a part of the app, they have not been switched on by Google. Whether that does occur during this release or not, remains to be seen, but a copy of the APK of the latest version of the Google (Beta) app can be downloaded and sideloaded through the link below. If you are already part of the Beta program for the Google app, then this update (to version 7.4.15) might already be installed on your device, or available for you to push through the Google Play Store - as it is already on its way out.