For last week’s Gemini launch, Google focused on the smartphone form factor. It left Assistant in place on Smart Displays, speakers, TVs, cars, and Wear OS, though the “Gemini mobile app is coming to headphones.”
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.
This “bisto” form factor tease comes from the latest Google app beta (15.6):
- <string name=”assistant_onboarding_bisto_error_message”>Gemini mobile app is working on expanding availability to make it accessible on your headphones</string>
It’s the most explicit sign of Gemini’s expansion plans, while Google emphasized last week that it’s focusing on Android and iOS smartphones first.
Even if Gemini is enabled on your phone, Pixel Buds Pro still triggers Google Assistant (as you can tell from the voice and what capabilities you have access to).
Gemini for headphones will presumably bring generative AI-powered responses to the audio-only medium. Bringing it to earbuds, which has the benefit of falling back to the connected phone if something goes wrong, might be a safer start than Smart Displays/speakers.
It will be interesting to see how Google optimizes Gemini for headphones, especially in regards to the length of responses. Longer replies can be more easily skimmed on a screen than earbuds. (It would be nice if Google introduced a playback speed customization.)
Also of note in this release are the following error messages:
- “Too many requests in a short time period. Try again later”
- “Gemini mobile app is getting more traffic than usual and is temporarily unavailable. Try again later.”
Meanwhile, work on adding “Look and Talk” to the Pixel Tablet, which we first spotted in October, continues. Once live, you will be able to enable the stare-based alternative to “Hey Google” in Hub Mode settings.
- “Dock your device and set up Hub Mode to enable Look and Talk.”
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.
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