New Google APK Teardown Shows Progress In Lense & Assistant

A new APK teardown of the latest update to the official Google App for Android has now been conducted, following another teardown which took place earlier this month. For those who aren't well-versed in app development, an APK teardown is done by decompiling a given application, which can provide clues about hidden features that have not yet been activated or are currently being worked on. Those don't always show up in final versions of an application and are sometimes dropped altogether but, at least in this case, a couple of the expected features appear to have progressed substantially since the previous teardown.

For starters, the Lens feature Google first showed off at I/O 2017 back in May has now been fleshed out a bit more in the latest update. The feature is intended to make it easy for a user to instigate a search relevant to objects, images, and text that are displayed on their screen using Google's A.I.-driven Assistant. As shown in previous reports, that's done in the decompiled Google App by clicking on the camera-shaped Lens icon at the bottom right and then selecting the portion of the screen a user wants to learn more about. Although previous iterations of the still-in-development feature began to show how the interface would assist the user in seeing exactly what they had selected, the latest teardown shows that Lens now returns a more actionable interface change back to the user. After selecting an area of the screen, the interface now shows a horizontally-oriented, scrollable list of clickable buttons along the bottom of the screen. The assistant also returns a message telling the user "Here's what I found." Unfortunately, a tap on any of those returns an error for now, but it is a step forward. In this new teardown, Lens is also available to users who choose their device's keyboard as their primary Assistant search input and appears alongside the microphone icon in the search bar. In both cases, voice-focused and keyboard-focused, the icons themselves have been redesigned as well.

Finally, decompiling the new Google application update, the source was reportedly able to initiate a male voice for Google Assistant that had only previously been shown as selectable - which the app calls "Jay." That means Google could be getting close to giving users the option to choose the gender of their digital smart assistant. Whether or not that feature makes it to a final version of the application remains to be seen but it is at least moving forward for now.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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