After working to remove the hamburger menu from several apps like Contacts, Play Store, Photos, and more over the years, Google has strangely decided to test out a new hamburger menu for the Phone (dialer) app. The Google Phone app was one of the few apps that didn’t incorporate a hamburger menu. However, for some odd reason Google might be bringing the outdated hamburger menu to it now. Apart from that, we’ve also spotted Google working on a new permission in the Phone app to use satellite communication. More on this later.

While digging into version 128.0.625763929-publicbeta of the Google Phone app, code sleuth AssembleDebug spotted a new addition to the app – the hamburger menu. The new icon for the menu appears within the top search bar itself. Tapping on it brings out a side panel that currently only lists ‘Contacts’ and ‘Voicemail’. Of course, with the hamburger menu, there’s no need for a bottom bar, so that’s removed.

I’ve added a couple of screenshots shared with PiunikaWeb by the tipster below for reference:

Look, on the one hand, this might just well be a random test that never goes live publicly. But, on the other hand, this could very well be a new layout that we’ll see sometime down the line. The hamburger menu would make sense if Google makes it a one-stop panel to access all the important features, pages, and settings right from there. Right now, the practically empty panel seems odd.

Either way, we’ll just have to wait and see if work on the menu in the Google Phone app progresses in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to PiunikaWeb for more updates on this. ICYMI, Google’s also working to add a new Lookup feature in its Phone app.

Now, coming to the new permission. AssembleDebug confirmed to us that they spotted new string within the aforementioned version of the Google Phone app that hints towards Google adding a permission for users to use the emergency satellite feature.

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.SATELLITE_COMMUNICATION"/>

According to the AOSP code, this permission allows an application to communicate over satellite. Only granted if the application is a system app or privileged app. So with that, it seems Google’s plans for adding satellite connectivity features for the Pixel 9 are in full swing.

Dwayne Cubbins
1107 Posts

My fascination with Android phones began the moment I got my hands on one. Since then, I've been on a journey to decode the ever-evolving tech landscape, fueled by a passion for both the "how" and the "why." Since 2018, I've been crafting content that empowers users and demystifies the tech world. From in-depth how-to guides that unlock your phone's potential to breaking news based on original research, I strive to make tech accessible and engaging.

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