Google Home v1.30 is rolling out today with a minor feature rebranding and some internal changes that show continued development on Google for Households, possibly with support for multiple homes. There are also more features for the smart home remote control, and Smart Displays will use the Google Home app to set up Duo calling. As always, download links are at the bottom.
Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)
Renaming Backdrops to Ambient mode
Backdrops becomes Ambient mode
Left: v1.29. Center: v1.30. Right: looks the same in both versions.
It's a purely cosmetic change, at least for now, but we'll have to get used to a new name. The feature that had Cast devices cycling through assorted image galleries is getting renamed to Ambient mode. Nothing seems to have been changed beyond the name and most places where it's referenced, but a rebranding like this is usually a sign that something else will be happening in the near future. There is one small oversight where the Backdrop name happens to still be in the title of the screen actually used to change the settings.
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.
Now the Google Home app is getting in on the game. Quite a few new placeholder strings have been added that will be used for managing members of the household and their status, so to speak. All of the strings are empty, but their names give away the intent pretty clearly. The basic summary is that people can be invited to join a group, which can be accepted or declined.
There are also strings related to "managers" and how they are invited. It looks like roughly the same situation, but would presumably give them the ability to invite or remove members from the group.
Notably, there are also "applicant" strings, which means that somebody can ask for some type of permission. It's not really clear if this is for people applying to join a household or applying to become a manager. Either way, it's unusual to see both an invite and application workflow, but perhaps it'll make more sense when we get a few more details.
Multi-home support, maybe?
I will be the first to say that I'm skeptical about framing this section as multi-home support because it can easily be interpreted differently, but I also recognize that this is a scenario Google really must support. If you live in more than one location, as many college students and regular working travelers often do, you may be part of more than one household group.
There are now placeholder strings that look like they might allow users to add multiple homes. They describe just a few basic functions, including adding new homes, giving them names, and opening device settings for them. Without any more text or meaningful references in source code, that's about the most that can be seen from what's here.
But as I said, there's no way to be certain that these have anything to do with multiple homes based on just the string names, at least not when there's a product named Google Home that they could be referring to. It's entirely possible that these were only added as part of a new interface for setting up Google Home devices. With that said, I just wanted to put this out there as a possibility.
Follow-up: remote control for smart home devices
A couple of months ago, the Google Home app gained its own remote control interface for Cast devices. It only offered some basic functionality, but it gave users the ability to control playback of music and videos without having the app installed that originally started the Cast session. Just last month, a teardown of v1.29 included signs that Google Home would likely add more device types to the list, including thermostats and door locks.
The latest update moves further in that direction and adds a few more interesting details. This time, the thermostat labels show that users will also be able to activate an Eco mode if one is available, not just the heating and cooling modes that were previously listed. Also, there can be a readout of the ambient temperature.
A few new lines also indicate that lighting will also become a supported device type, but it's not fleshed out with anything beyond that. Of course, we could have safely guessed that smart bulbs would be on the list eventually.
<stringname="accessibility_temperature_decrease">Decrease temperature</string> <stringname="accessibility_temperature_increase">Increase temperature</string> <stringname="remote_control_thermostat_ambient">Ambient temperature %1$s°</string> <stringname="remote_control_thermostat_mode_eco">Eco mode</string> <stringname="remote_control_thermostat_mode_eco_short_name">Eco</string> <stringname="remote_control_thermostat_mode_off_short_name">Off</string> <stringname="remote_control_thermostat_mode_other_short_name">Other</string><stringname="remote_control_title_lights_in_room">%1$s lights</string> <stringname="remote_control_status_lights">%1$d lights</string> <stringname="setup_up_smart_bulbs"/><stringname="remote_control_title_devices_in_room">%1$s devices</string> <stringname="remote_control_status_in_room">In the %1$s</string>
Also of note are some new "tabs" that resemble the format we saw in the same Google Home teardown. These would appear to add cameras to the list, along with the aforementioned thermostats and lights.
Unless you've brand new to teardowns, and news about Smart Displays, and maybe even the Internet... You've probably heard that the upcoming Google Assistant-enabled smart displays will support video calling with Duo. The release date for the first smart displays is fast approaching, so it's no surprise that in-app support is also getting worked out. This update adds the screens for configuring video calling and handling the phone number verification step. There's no point in analyzing it, there's nothing too remarkable here.
<stringname="summary_duo_title">Video calling</string> <stringname="summary_duo_subtitle">You can make and receive Duo calls on your Smart Display</string> <stringname="call_intro_header">Video calling</string> <stringname="call_intro_with_account_body">Use your existing Duo account for video calls on your Smart Display. Your friends and family can reach you at %1$s</string> <stringname="call_intro_legal_footer">You can unlink your Duo account from this device any time in Assistant settings</string> <stringname="phone_selection_body">Start high quality video calls on your Smart Display to anyone who has the Google Duo app. Verify your phone number to create a Duo account. This will also link it with your Google Account</string> <stringname="phone_selection_header">Set up video calling</string> <stringname="phone_selection_info">Google will send a code via SMS to verify this number. Carrier rates may apply.</string> <stringname="phone_selection_invalid_phone">Invalid phone number. Please change it and try again!</string> <stringname="phone_selection_legal_footer">People who know your phone number or Google Account will be able to reach you across Google services. %1$s\10\10You can unlink your Duo account from this device or delete your Duo account anytime in settings</string> <stringname="phone_selection_phone">Phone number</string> <stringname="phone_verification_body">Enter the code sent to %1$s</string> <stringname="phone_verification_code">Enter code</string> <stringname="phone_verification_header">Verification code</string> <stringname="phone_verification_incorrect_code">The code is not correct. Please try again!</string> <stringname="phone_verification_info">Didn\'t receive the code?</string> <stringname="phone_verification_retry_sms">Resend code</string> <stringname="phone_verification_send_code_failed">There was an error, please try again!</string> <stringname="phone_verification_waiting">Please wait %1$s</string>
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