Pixel 2 To Have A Squeeze For Assistant Action: App Teardown

September 20, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

The Google Pixel 2 smartphone will have a “Squeeze For Your Assistant” shortcut, allowing users to activate the Google Assistant by relying on the pressure-sensitive frame of the upcoming smartphone, as revealed by a recent teardown of the latest beta build of the Google app performed by 9to5Google. Following the revelation on Tuesday, some tinkering with the tool allowed the source to get some of its hidden experimental features to run, as evidenced by the screenshots in the gallery below. Options related to the squeezing shortcut itself will be placed in the “Phone” section of the Settings menu, though it’s still unclear whether the functionality will be enabled by default. The shortcut is likely to be part of the Pixel 2 which is manufactured by HTC and will feature the company’s proprietary pressure-sensitive technology, though it’s currently unclear whether the larger Pixel XL 2 which is being produced by LG Electronics will also sport the same capability.

Another feature that can be accessed after some tinkering with the latest experimental version of the Google app is the “Assistant voice” menu where users are able to choose the voice for their artificial intelligence-powered companion. The newly uncovered section suggests that some voice options may not be available on all devices depending on their language settings, though the upcoming version of the service should at the very least work on all supported handsets set to English. The hidden setting is seemingly an account-wide one and will be applied to all of your Android smartphones featuring the Google Assistant, as well as any Google Home units you may own. Only two voices were uncovered in the current version of the Android app, both of which were labeled as U.S. ones and bear the names Jay and Holly. The former is presumably a male voice, whereas the latter should be a female one.

The new beta build of the Google app also hides some code which generates names below bottom bar icons and should be useful for people who have a hard time distinguishing between the “Feed” and “Upcoming” symbols. Much like some previous versions of Google‘s tool, this particular one also lists Calendar as one of Google Assistant-enabled services, in addition to containing assets for circular shortcuts and shortcut collections called Routines. The latter feature will seemingly allow users to say a single phrase for activating a sequence of modifiable actions instead of just a single one.