The beta version of the Google app is usually the first to spill the goods on upcoming features. That’s what appears to be the case in version 6.1, as we finally catch a glimpse of how the new Google Assistant may work when it comes time to take over as your new best friend.
In a dig into the APK, Android Police found several code strings that reference the assistant being ready to help when summoned. It’s not available now, but Google often does a lot of the pre-work before features go live. Expect to see more before the Google Assistant debuts, which should occur alongside Android Nougat.
A few icons are also waiting in the wings, one of which features the assistant’s image that Google revealed at I/O in May.
The Google Assistant image and a couple of chat icons are making a brief cameo in the latest version of the Google app beta.
Additionally, there’s a reference to searching through your apps, another upcoming feature that promises to let you find content buried deep inside of applications installed on your phone or tablet. It’s also not working yet, but serves as a hint of what’s to come and the central role the Google Assistant will play in how you use Android.
At least one feature is available to use right away. There’s a newfound ability to turn on or off trending searches from the search box. This way when you touch the search bar you won’t be bombarded with news that you may or may not be interested in.
You can now flip on or off local, trending searches.
The impact on you: The Google app, and by extension the new assistant, is at the heart of how Google is using its search power as the main differentiator for Android. It’s a compelling reason to go with Google’s operating system, unless of course sending that much information to Google on a regular basis creeps you out.
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