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Google's Phone 9.0 Update Contains Signs Of Android O Features And Paws

3 May 2017, 8:03 am EDT By Des Luna Tech Times
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Google's upcoming Android O operating system is far from being final. But it seems like Google is quietly laying the groundwork before its official release.

A teardown of Google Phone 9.0 update has revealed some hints of Android O features, including the Notification Channels found in the developer preview of the OS. Although far from official, these hidden features are good signs that Google is already preparing for the eventual release of the Android O.

Notification Channels

In a teardown of the Google Phone 9.0 Android Package Kit (APK), signs of Android O support have been discovered among the app's resources.

Of particular interest is the existence of Notification Channels feature. For starters, Notification Channels is a new feature for Android O. As the name implies, this feature lets the user manage the stream of notifications on their phones. As many users know, receiving a barrage of app alerts (with matching sounds) can be cumbersome; this feature will manage that.

What the feature does is to let users create a group (a "channel") for their apps' notifications based on predefined categories. For example, a user can receive only notifications from a group chat that they are part of while muting the others.

Based on the lines found on the Notification Channel codes, there are six separate channels for the Google Phone app. These are:

• Incoming Calls
• Ongoing Calls
• External Calls
• Missed Calls
• Voicemails
• Miscellaneous

However, only the Miscellaneous channel is visible in the notification screen, according to the teardown report.

Other Hidden Features

Aside from Notification Channels, there are other secret features embedded in the APK. These are post-call messaging, in-call picture messaging, dialer codes for Motorola, and strange images of paws. Yes, dog and cat paws.

The Post-call messaging feature lets the caller leave a quick text message if the call wasn't received. Based on the code strings found in the teardown, there are three lines of prewritten texts each with degrees of urgency. However, there are no clues if these canned messages can be customized. These are:

This is urgent. Call me back.
Call me back when you have some time.
Not urgent, we can chat later. 

The In-call picture messaging feature lets the user snap a picture and send it to the person at the other end of the line while they are talking. The feature works both ways for sender and receiver.

The hidden menu for Motorola phones are simple dialer codes for accessing menus and functions.

Last but not the least, the out-of-place images of dog and cat paws. No one is sure what these are for, but knowing Google and its tradition of pranks, one can only get wild speculations.

The features discovered are not official. Until Google makes major announcements, these features are all possibilities which may or may not be implemented in the future. The Google Phone app is only available for Pixel, Nexus, and other devices using Android One.

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