The last visual revamp for Assistant in late 2020 saw the light bar come to all Android devices. Google is now working on what looks to be a new design that takes advantage of dropdown menus to show more information, while Assistant is getting new microphone sounds.
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 case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Once activated, the sheet continues to not take up the entire screen to help preserve background context. Your profile avatar still appears in the top-right corner, but opposite that is now a pill-shaped button for keyboard entry as the bottom of the screen is just home to the four-colored microphone with a transparency effect. It’s unclear if this is the final design, but emphasizing text input is an interesting choice.
The big change here is how Google wants to show more information on screen. Rather than inundate users with a feed of cards and web results, Google Assistant will provide users with the option to hide results with dropdown menus. In this case, we see “On my screen” and “Recommended.”
The former is quite straightforward — though there are much larger buttons for web/app results, while the latter is just a list of general actions. They do not appear to be contextual, while this is just the latest effort by Google to increase education about Assistant capabilities. On the light bar redesign today, you can swipe up on the panel to see a similar preview.
Google is also working on new sounds to accompany the Assistant voice experience. It starts when you launch Assistant with the “open_mic” chime being softer and less sharp, which better aligns with Google’s friendly design language. The same changes are applied to “close_mic,” while “thinking”/analyzing starts off strong and fades out instead of continuously echoing.
These updates are in the same vein as the new Cast sound this year for Smart Displays and speakers. They are not yet rolled out with Google app 12.21.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.
Dylan Roussel and Kyle Bradshaw contributed to this article
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