Android Police routinely tears down Android APK’s (Android application files) to see if they can find anything interesting inside the files for a particular app.
While this can yield interesting fruits, there’s not usually much for us to write about. I just like to read about it under normal circumstances.
This time around, however, the guys over at Android Police found something very interesting to the Chromebook community.
As the layers were peeled back in the latest Google App APK (where the files for the Google Assistant live), a string was found that has some pretty strong evidence that our earlier reports of an Assistant button are right on target.
<string name="chrome_os_opa_ready_screen_explanation">When your Chromebook is set up, press the Assistant button or say Ok Google to get help from your Assistant anytime.</string>
While this doesn’t completely confirm a hardware button, the fact that we know a key is being mapped for the Google Assistant and we are now seeing scripts to guide users in the setup is enough for us to confidently say we will see Assistant sooner than later on Chrome OS.
Hardware or Software?
The lingering question is whether this is a hardware or a software button being referenced.
The Android Police article makes the observation that if this was referring to an on-screen key, there would be some direction to the user pertaining to what part of the screen to look to. The fact that we don’t see anything like that coupled with the hardware key mapping we spoke of earlier, I’d say we will see a physical key of some sort.
Now, to accommodate older Chromebooks, I could see a new keyboard shortcut being enabled. However, I can also imagine a side-mounted Assistant button on both Chromebooks and phones. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see an Assistant button on the next Pixel, too? If so, that could raise some very interesting questions surrounding ‘Eve’ and who it is being made by.
For now, we can simply be excited that Assistant looks to be well on the way to Chrome OS. At least that much seems clear for sure. Who’s excited?