APK Teardown: WhatsApp may soon let you dictate and send messages via Facebook Assistant on Ray-Ban Stories
WhatsApp is by far the most popular Instant Messaging app. Despite its popularity, it is slow-moving when it comes to introducing new features. For instance, the Community feature was first spotted by us back in October 2021, and it only got officially announced yesterday. One of the pain points of WhatsApp remains its non-integration with Voice Assistants — you can’t ask Google Assistant to send a message on WhatsApp to someone. Meta could be working on letting this happen, but not with Google Assistant, but with Facebook Assistant and on its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
The latest WhatsApp Beta 126.96.36.199 includes strings and assets that indicate that the Meta-owned Instant Messaging app could be working on letting users send messages via Facebook Assistant on its Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
<string name="instrumentation_auth_complete_bullet_one">Tell Assistant who you want to contact. Be sure to say “on WhatsApp” after their name so Assistant knows to open a WhatsApp message secured with end-to-end encryption.</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_complete_bullet_three">"Wait to say your message after Assistant asks you, so you know you're speaking into WhatsApp."</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_complete_bullet_two">For example, “Hey Facebook, message Anna on WhatsApp.”</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_complete_button">Connect with Ray-Ban Stories</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_complete_link"><a href=\"%1$s\">Learn how your voice information is kept private on Ray-Ban Stories.</a></string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_complete_title">Send a WhatsApp Message With Assistant</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_perm_button">Next</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_perm_paragraph_one">When you use WhatsApp with Ray-Ban Stories, the contents of your personal messages and calls are always secured with end-to-end encryption. Not even WhatsApp can read or listen to them.</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_perm_paragraph_two"><a href=\"%1$s\">Learn more about your privacy on WhatsApp.</a></string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_perm_title">Use WhatsApp with Ray-Ban Stories</string>\n<string name="instrumentation_auth_title">Link with WhatsApp</string>
Some of the strings simply mention “Assistant”, but before you get your hopes up, the context for those strings indicates that it likely is referring to Facebook Assistant rather than Google Assistant. The Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses include Facebook Assistant as the voice assistant of choice, letting users take photos and videos on the smart glasses through voice commands. The above strings then become rather self-explanatory. Smart glass users will be able to link their smart glass with WhatsApp on their phones, and then say commands like “Hey Facebook, message Anna on WhatsApp” to proceed to send messages without needing to take their phones out of their pocket.
In addition to the strings, the APK also contains the following two graphic assets (and some other smaller icons):
The first graphic cement what we learn from the strings. The second graphic is used to highlight the End-to-End encryption that will presumably remain in effect when using voice-based commands through Facebook Assistant.
It is not immediately clear when the feature will roll out. But it should benefit only a small niche of users — those that have Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and also use WhatsApp, and want to make use of voice commands to send messages on the platform. At the moment, there are no hints of voice command support extending to other virtual assistants, nor of it extending outside of the smart glasses use case. So keep your expectations grounded.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.