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Google app 8.70 preps personalized audio news, Material Theme tweaks, adds Pixel Stand Ambient Display setting [APK Insight]

(Source: 9to5google.com)

The latest Google app beta is rolling out with more details about Assistant’s personalized audio news feed that was announced this week. Google app 8.70 also includes a new Pixel Stand option to disable personalized results on the Ambient Display, as well as other design tweaks.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Pixel Stand: Disable personal Ambient Display results

The Pixel Stand gains a new security option that allows “proactive personal results on the ambient display” to be enabled/disabled. This setting applies to the rotating carousel of relevant Assistant suggestions that update throughout the day. The options are still displayed when users turn this switch off, but become limited to playing music and other generic actions.

Allow proactive personal results on (or a tap away from) the ambient display, without you having to ask for them. Note: People nearby can also tap and act on them.

More tab: User without an account

The Google app’s More tab is due for the Material Theme. We’ve enabled it in the past, and the latest iteration adds a “Use without an account” option that allows users to browse without saving queries to a Google Account. At the moment, this option is only available if users sign out of the app, with the new button immediately accessible. Meanwhile, there is an interesting dark button to “Manage your Google Account” that’s likely a bug.

Bolded bottom bar icons

The Google app is testing a new bottom bar that’s more closely aligned with the Material Theme’s preference for bolded icons.

Google app 8.70

Google Assistant “Personalized News.”

Back in October with version 8.33, we spotted the Google app working on “Personalized News.” This week, Google revealed it as an initiative to make a more personalized feed of audio news in Assistant. Publications are tasked with creating single-topic story clips that Assistant works to curate and deliver to users. The focus is on personalization with users more likely to get updates on stories they already heard or are following.

<string name=”omp_media_type_news”>News</string>

<string name=”omp_link_to_playlist_page”>Link to show page</string>

Google app 8.70 reveals work on a possible interface for this that includes a “player panel” on phones. Controls include standard medial controls to play, pause, and skip, as well as playback speed.

<string name=”omp_collapse_player”>Collapse player panel</string>

<string name=”omp_connection_error_message”>Check your connection and try again</string>

<string name=”omp_fast_forward”>Fast forward</string>

<string name=”omp_finish_selection”>Select %1$s playback speed</string>

<string name=”omp_pause”>Pause</string>

<string name=”omp_play”>Play</string>

<string name=”omp_playback_progress”>Playback progress</string>

<string name=”omp_playback_status_buffering”>Buffering…</string>

<string name=”omp_playing_at_speed”>Playing at %1$s speed</string>

<string name=”omp_rewind”>Rewind</string>

<string name=”omp_skip_next”>Skip to the next item</string>

<string name=”omp_skip_previous”>Skip to the previous item</string>

<string name=”omp_toggle_play_pause”>Toggle between play and pause</string>

Given the feed nature, there is a queue:

<string name=”omp_playback_end_of_queue_error_message”>You have reached the end of the queue.</string>

<string name=”omp_view_detail”>View details</string>

<string name=”omp_view_detail_of_media_item”>View details of %1$s</string>

Top apps rename

For the past several versions, Google has been working on a “Top Apps” feature that is essentially a grid of links to popular web apps. We’ve enabled it in the past, with Google app 8.70 renaming it to simply “Apps.”

Google app 8.65

<string name=”top_apps”>Top Apps</string>

Google app 8.70

<string name=”top_apps”>Apps</string>

Google app 8.15

Google app 8.15

Google app 8.15

Google app 8.15

Pill-shaped Search widget

To reflect Google’s latest design stylings, the Search widget preview graphic is now pill-shaped instead of being rectangular with slightly rounded corners. That is also now the default shape, but can be manually customized to the previous iteration.

How to update?

You can sign-up for the Google app’s beta program here or by heading to the Play Store listing on Android and scrolling to the bottom. The latest beta version of the Google app is immediately rolled out when it’s available.

We do not post APKs to download directly given the legal challenges associated with copyright and possibility of removal. Meanwhile, that model is perilous given Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

Dylan contributed to this article

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