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Google APK code could hint at Echo Show mimic, Google Home UI update

By Jules Wang October 23, 2017, 6:34 pm

People in corporate talk in their own language and use codenames for certain features, mechanisms and devices. It disguises the overheard and leaves us scratching our heads as to what’s really going on at, say, Apple with “Lisbon” and “Hangzhou.” Google, too, with “Taimen,” “Muskie,” and “Walleye.”

Staying with Google, we’re learning through Android Police that the company may be working on a visual interface for Google Home-type devices that’s codenamed “Quartz.” References to Quartz are seen throughout the latest version of the Google search APK. Strings mention visual interfaces including an image viewer, a YouTube video player, web browsing and other more mundane functions that have been tagged with graphic elements — setting a timer would require a clock asset, for example.

So, what’s Quartz? TechCrunch first reported from its sources on a device that can display visual content, trigger Google Assistant, provide voice calling and control smart home devices codenamed “Manhattan” — comparable to the Amazon Echo Show. At Google I/O, the company also hinted at a visual interface with Google Home speakers through a Chromecast-connected TV. There could also be an upgraded Google Home app interface and it would feed on the main Google app to handle big tasks.

These changes were first spotted on beta version 7.14.15 and are available from the Play Store if you scroll down and sign up to join the testing program.

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