Pixel 4’s New Assistant prepares to add better email dictation in Gmail

Pixel 4’s New Assistant prepares to add better email dictation in Gmail

At Google I/O earlier this year, Google showed off a much faster version of its Google Assistant service. During the demonstration, the presenter asked the Assistant to send an email to a contact named “Jessica,” launching Gmail with the contact “Jessica Kulla” prefilled in the “To” field. The presenter was then able to dictate the “Subject” and “Body” fields of the email entirely through the Assistant thanks to Continued Conversation support. The new Google Assistant launched with the Pixel 4 last month, but this new, better email dictation flow is not yet available. However, we’ve spotted evidence that it’s still in development and could appear in a future update to the Google Assistant.

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An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

If you currently ask the Google Assistant on the Pixel 4 (or any other device for that matter) to send an email, you’ll be greeted with a dialog that looks like this:

The Google Assistant will guide you through sending an email by voice by asking you to say your message and subject. This email dictation flow doesn’t feel as well-integrated as the other new Assistant actions. In fact, sending an email isn’t even listed as an example of what the new Google Assistant can do on the Pixel 4. With a bit of tinkering, I was able to get the new Google Assistant to launch the Gmail app with one of my contacts, Max Weinbach, prepopulated in the “To” field.

However, I was unable to dictate the actual email subject or body. Looking into the Google App APK, there’s a disabled and exported service called com.google.android.apps.gsa.nga.engine.keyboard.KeyboardService that likely enables keyboard dictation for the new Google Assistant. Once this feature is ready to go live, you’ll be able to dictate keyboard input directly from the Google Assistant rather than Gboard or another keyboard app.


Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

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