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Google app 8.18 preps Assistant multilingual beta, more about Hands-Free [APK Insight]

After skipping a beta release (8.17) last week, the latest version (8.18) of the Google app is now available. Development on Hands-Free continues, while multilingual functionality announced back in February is nearing launch through a beta.

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.

Multilingual beta

At MWC 2018 in February, Google announced that Assistant would gain multilingual support later this year starting with English, French, and German. For example, this would allow users to speak German at work, but use French when home.

Version 8.18 reveals that Google is now preparing this functionality with a “language_beta” where Assistant can learn “to use these languages together.” The feature won’t work on some of your devices, but the strings do not specify which are not being included. Smart Displays are a likely candidate for exclusion.

<string name=”assistant_settings_home_group_header”>Choose language for those devices.</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_household_reauth_incorrect_password_message”>Invalid password</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_language_beta”>Beta</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_language_beta_context”>Your assistant is still learning how to use these languages together. It will get better over time.</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_languages_device_warning”>”These languages won’t work on some of your devices.”</string>

<string name=”assistant_settings_languages_single_language_device_warning”>”%1$s won’t work on some of your devices.”</string>

In a related matter, a new combined “Languages & region” setting is referenced. At the moment, the Google app has separate “Search language” and “Search region” menus, while this new option could be for Assistant.

<string name=”language_and_region”>Language &amp; region</string>

<string name=”language_hub_title”>Language</string>

<string name=”region_hub_title”>Region</string>


The previous Google app beta revealed Hands-Free and version 8.18 better details the feature and revises strings. This functionality allows Assistant to “read notifications to you,” including messages and calendar events.

<string name=”hands_free_category”>Hands-Free</string>

<string name=”notification_assistant”>Assistant</string>

<string name=”notification_heading”>Allow Assistant to read notifications to you</string>

<string name=”notification_settings”>SETTINGS</string>

<string name=”notification_text”>To hear your messages, calendar events, and other important info, give the Google app access to your notifications.</string>

<string name=”permission_eyesfree_tts”>”Before I read your messages to you, you’ll need to give me access to your notifications. On the settings on your phone, look for Notification Access. Then switch on access for the Google app.”</string>

Closed captioning

<string name=”no_closed_caption_data”>No closed caption data</string>

<string name=”disable_closed_caption”>Disable closed caption</string>

<string name=”enable_closed_caption”>Enable closed caption</string>

AUX cable

Given that there is only one device that currently features such a hardware port, this is possibly related to the Google Home Max, or a future speaker under development.

<string name=”try_aux”>Try AUX cable</string>

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 moving forward is perilous given upcoming system-level changes from 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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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: