Google is rolling out its first significant update since launching Podcasts this week. For the most part, this appears to be primarily a bug fix and polishing release. There are little tweaks here and there related to Podcasts, including a corrected icon. There's also the start of a search feature for settings so people won't have to wander through several screens to configure the app as they want it.
Left: v8.8. Right: v8.9.
For those of you that like consistency, it may have been a bit frustrating that Google launched Podcasts with a mismatched icon. In v8.8, the status icon was the fairly generic antenna with broadcast lines, but in official branding for Podcasts used a unique soundwave-like design with Google colors. A smaller variant has been brought in to correct the mismatch.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are wrong or inaccurate. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that products could change or may be canceled. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.
Search for Settings
The Settings screen in the Google app has grown pretty large over the years, especially with the addition of Google Assistant. It's still not quite as over-packed as the core Settings app, but it is going to adopt one of the best features you'll find in there: Search.
Yep, Google's search app will become searchable, or at least its settings will. New text shows that a search bar will be added that can be used to find settings so you don't have to dig around for them yourself.
<string name="settings_search_bar_hint">Search or Type in Setting</string>
<string name="settings_search_clear_description">Clear Query</string>
<string name="settings_search_icon_title">Search settings</string>
The text doesn't specify if results will come from both the Google app's core settings and Google Assistant settings, or if it will be limited to one or the other.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.