Lately, the Google app received the v4.8 update that does not appear to have brought any obvious changes. However, the firm seems to be planning to rollout another update that will add some interesting features.
It looks like Ok Google will be going offline. If this turns out to be authentic, it is would be great as the service will work even with there is no access to data. There are a few references that make it evident that voice commands can take place while there is no active internet connection. The strings suggest that a card with “Offline voice tips” will pop up in such situations.
There will be support to both tapping on the microphone and hotword activation, but the actions seem to be limited in the existing version. This is likely to include making a call, playing music, sending a text message and turning on Wi-Fi with the commands
- Make a call
- Send a text
- Play some music
- Turn on Wi-Fi
Talking of the connectivity issues, it seems like that were will be warnings when the device to connected to insecure networks. The algorithm of how and when these warnings will take place is not clear right now. However, it looks like there will buttons to access the internet even in insecure networks temporarily. This feature can also block the activity if the users do not make any choice.
There will be additional settings to control in addition to the vocal shortcuts that Google introduced this year for turning on and off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and camera flash. The new target controls are the volume and screen brightness. The exact phrasing of the commands is not known yet, but it is a welcome addition.
Most of the Google applications have support for streaming their content to Android TV or Chromecast. Those that have not enabled include the new Photos app and a few others. There will be a new card that will show if the users are connected and let them to end the session as well. There is no clue to say that Google Now can start a Cast session, but it can stop one.
One of the new strings and some of the new images show that the firm is planning to generate maps that are related to users’ activities. The string appears to be a title of the map that is shown. It is not sure if it is an online or offline activity, but the Google Maps icon is also included. If connected, the users will be able to see a thumbnail of an area with the icons for movie theaters, attractions, gas stations and restaurants.
Also, there are two new icons to get information about mass transit, especially for trains and buses. They might be listed with the already existing commute card with the appointments that are needed for traveling to a place and more.
Following the Inbox app, it looks like Google Now is also planning to provide the functionality to quickly compose a new message or jump to the reminders. The icon named ic_reminders_launchers_shortcut spells that it is meant for the home screen and that it will be a shortcut and not a widget. This shortcut will open the Reminders interface and Inbox.
There are a few miscellaneous icons for Youtube and thermometer that should show future forecasts, current weather card and travel advisories or something else. Also, there is an attach_money icon that should provide a quick way to transfer money to a different entity. It can be something like paying utility bills or purchasing event tickets.
The APK is signed by Google and it will upgrade the existing application. The signature of Google assured that the file is safe to install. You can also wait for the firm to rollout the update.