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Last Updated: May 10th, 2014

In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.

image

Pressing the "Google" button appears to trigger Search, which would help users perform general searches or app-specific actions. The back button seems to work as you'd expect, and the multitask button appears to bring up the multitasking view we saw a glimpse of when looking at Google's potential plan to unify Chrome and Search on Android. So where's the home screen? Today's post will take a look at what Google seems to be experimenting with - a new launcher system, a new look for notifications, and a new quick settings shade. Let's dig in.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether. As with all rumors, nothing is 100% until it's officially announced.

We do not have possession of any APKs or unreleased devices, so please don't ask for them.

Confidence Level

This rumor gets a confidence rating of 7 out of 10. We are confident that a change like this is probably coming, but the changes seen in the information available to us are so far-reaching that it's hard to be sure to what extent those changes will be implemented. It is clear Google is experimenting with the home screen and notification system, and in fact things like Android Wear give good hints that some of these changes actually may survive into a public Android release, but it's best to approach things like this with caution. The launcher we now know as the Google Now Launcher went through several revisions before reaching release with the Nexus 5, but the core principles of the launcher remained the same. It is probably safe to say the same pattern will hold true with these changes.

The Rumor

I'll try to get through the actual rumor in as concise a manner as possible, since the "Evidence" section is what will really tell the story here. Basically, it appears that Google is experimenting with drastically altering the launcher experience. To do this, it will require users to rely more heavily on the multitasking screen, accessed from its usual right-most navigation button. From here, users can launch an app from their hot seat or swipe to the right to see more apps.

Notifications will apparently be split into two parts - the shade will still pull down from the top, but "high priority" notifications will appear first, and a swipe up will reveal low priority or ongoing notifications. Quick settings will also be present in a secondary shade (as it is now), though we do not have firm information indicating what exactly that interface will look like.

Before we continue, it should be noted that - should they come to fruition in some form - these changes could be limited to Google's eponymous Now Launcher as part of the overall "Google" experience, though changes to multitasking and the navigation buttons could point to a wider sweep. It's always worth stressing that with unreleased software features, our information is rarely 100% complete, and anything can change.

The Evidence

For this rumor, it may be helpful to take a broad view and then discuss the elements individually. As usual, we won't post source images of unreleased software, opting instead to recreate the interfaces based on the images or information available to us. Rest assured we replicate the interface as faithfully as possible.

Below is a quick animation sketch of the overall functionality. Note that launcher icons in the mockups below have been replaced with simple squares to keep the focus on the interface.

Multitasking

Multitasking, it appears, will be the user's primary point of entry to the launcher. What's interesting, besides its overall design (showing a stack of app interfaces as cards rather than a lineup of thumbnails), is that it looks like the user could swipe down on the action bar of an app to enter multitasking, if for whatever reason they don't feel like pressing the dedicated button. It isn't clear if this functionality will be available for all apps, but it is being experimented with at least in some of Google's apps. Apps would be dismissed from multitasking by swiping down.

wm_Recents

App Grid

From the information available to us, it looks like Google is experimenting with eliminating the app drawer in favor of an iOS-style app grid. This is one of the farther-reaching changes, with as yet unknown implications for widget placement.

What is apparent, though, is that the hot seat would remain, sans app drawer button. As we always note with unreleased software, anything can happen.

wm_appgrid

Update: As commenter Zargh notes below, Android 4.4.3's change log has a few curious lines that sound like they could be related to the app grid.

dff0bfe Do not allow duplicate shortcuts when ALL_APPS is disabled.
da41ea6 Allow 5 hotseat icons in DISABLE_ALL_APPS mode.
306c1cf Show widgets when ALL_APPS is disabled.

What this sounds like is that there may be an option to either use or not use the app grid, with widgets showing up based on that selection. Time will tell.

What About Widgets?

Presumably, the addition of the grid could rule out widgets - they don't fit into any obvious place in the overall picture (except perhaps between recents and the grid itself), but traditional, customizable home screens are likely still an area that's under consideration with these changes.

The app grid itself could just be an exploratory element, or there could be more to the placement of traditional home screens than our information suggests. As always, remember that any pre-release functionality, no matter how convincing the evidence, could change.

Notifications

From what we've seen, Google appears to be experimenting with a notification shade that - while familiar - sees a significant stylistic overhaul. It still pulls down from the top, but notifications are now presented in the same style as Google Now cards (these notifications are internally referred to as "nowtifications," get it?). Some high priority Now cards may also appear in the notification shade (for instance, if it's time to leave for an appointment), and would be placed in the top "half" of the shade, with low priority or ongoing notifications just a fluidly-animated swipe away. Assuming our information is correct, this revised notification shade would give richer meaning to notifications' priority levels, and greater separation for users tired of a cluttered shade.

It also seems that the notification shade will greet you with a time-appropriate phrase and your next alarm, or the current weather.

wm_Notifshade1 nowitfgif wm_notifshade3

Google Now

Google Now has moved around a lot since its initial introduction. At present, it lives to the left of the leftmost home screen. In the new launcher, it would be below the screen, accessible from any home screen with a quick swipe. This is where most of your predictive cards would live, and for now it appears the same as the current Now interface, though we've seen evidence that the "Ok Google" hotword is destined to work almost everywhere.

wm_Nowswipe

Final Thoughts

This is probably the most wide-sweeping rumor we've recently encountered, so it's worth approaching with some caution. It's clear to us that Google is exploring these changes, but not that they are finished, or that they will appear in an upcoming Android release. Taken with other rumors we've seen, it seems likely that some of these features will appear, though their final implementation remains to be seen.

Changes like the move to an app grid seem far fetched for Android, which prides itself on the ability to customize home screens with widgets and other changes. It's possible that the app grid is only an exploration, or that traditional home screens could appear between recents and the grid - again, anything can happen.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Well i don't like the look of it, but honestly... i didn't like the idea of white icons in the notification bar, now i can't go back, so i guess i'll learn to love it.

  • Mayoo

    Looks good!

    • Nathan Borup

      The one thing i'm not quite sure about is widgets... widgets play kind of a big part of my android existence, especially plume

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        Yep, that's still a question mark. I would say widgets and home screens will still exist, we just aren't 100% sure where, as I noted.

        • skeeterfood

          I agree with Anthony. I think this will only affect what is now the recents button. I think the launcher and home screens will still exist, but this is a quicker way to get to the app drawer without heading to the home screen first.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            What if... Google makes "Recents" a part of the OS and the launcher!? Like, you are at the home screen, and you can swipe to the very last left screen or right screen and access all the opened apps in a nice looking environment a-la webOS cards and if you are in an app - swipe from the edge a-la Sailfish OS and enter the same recents menu as if you never actually went outside the app?

        • heat361

          I think that the app drawer and widgets will stay. No app drawer means a cluttered home screen and I don't think Matias Duarte would like a cluttered ux.

          • Shane Redman

            I think they'll keep widgets only on the lock screens as to make way for this implementation. That way, you still get your information at a glance.

          • ssj4Gogeta

            So, I have to lock my phone to check my news? No thank you.

          • Shane Redman

            or you could, ya know.....open the app.

        • Dycius

          The could do something like Action Launcher and have widgets pop up when you swipe up on a App Icon. I like that feature in Action Launcher because I can have a clean home screen, yet still have widgets when I want them. :)

        • mjku

          Could it be that the home button still exists where it usually is, but the "Google" button simply replaces it when in the multitasking screen? I could see the now cards also being accessed by pressing that along with swiping for discoverability reasons.

          That aside, I'm not such a fan of this type of multitasking screen. I can only immediately tell my most recent app, and have no idea what other apps are "recent". This would be a HUGE step back in usability, if you ask me.

          • ssj4Gogeta

            I think the recents button is the home button because the recents list is a part of the launcher now. So pressing recents opens the launcher with the recents list showing.

        • coolscrotie

          I think it's possible, maybe even likely, that we will see Widgets within google now. Maybe not all of them, but those that follow certain requirements (Probably size 4x2 and 4x4, like lock screen widgets).

          After enabling, every widget basically has a refresh interval built-in, and whenever the interval is up, the widget could show up in Google now. it will be displayed like a card, possibly vertically scrollable and expandable like some of the Google Now Cards. If you don't need it, swipe it away. It will be back after the refresh interval, or google could ask you how often you need it.

          • pfmiller

            That sounds just awful. How would I know the next time I want to check the weather or my calendar?

          • coolscrotie

            Calendar entries are already displayed by google now, as well as the Weather.

            However, if you want a certain widget to be displayed all the time, i guess making it permanent below the new google now cards could also be an option (can't be swiped away then).

          • pfmiller

            There's already too much clutter in Google Now. More cards that can't be swiped away isn't the answer.

        • Casin

          Well if you swipe down from multitasking to dismiss an app and left to go to apps, it seems logical that swiping right would go to widgets.

        • Harsh Doshi

          I think the app grid is not really an app grid, just a 4x5 grid for the home screen, to indicate how many icons/widgets could fit there... Also, since the bottom bar is there, there are high chances of a app drawer. :D

      • Jondan Rothfus

        Do you think it could be possible that Google is approaching the "Project Hera" multitasking tabs as widget replacements? There are supposedly some functionalities available through this new multitasking page, so I would think these would act very similarly to hope widgets do now.

      • bprichard

        Me too. I would be completely unwilling to use this if widgets are out. I have seven homescreens are widgets, including the excellent AppDialer Pro.

    • someone755

      "Bring me more!" *smashes phone*

    • David Vargas

      I want it now! My impulsive customer behaviour is activated!

  • Captain Canada

    Google: Turn Down For What

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I'm not sure what you're referring to.

      • Michael J Carroll

        Go hard or go home.

      • frhow

        He is basically saying Google is doing a lot but in a good way so don't stop!

    • Zimmerman

      lmao

  • *

    Bold move Google.

  • Larry Simpson

    Oh god no no no. Might as well go to IOS

    • http://androidintvfilm.tumblr.com/ wade_county

      Agreed! I want my app drawer and widgets.

    • ddpacino

      I see this as being WebOS-ified, and I'm pretty excited about that dream. All Hail Lord Duarte!

      • m477

        Was going to write exactly the same.

  • Josh Crumley

    Will be difficult getting used to not having a "home" button. However, I think I could come to like this pretty easily.

  • hrd

    nononono please no, that look too googlelized.

    • Mayoo

      Would be surprising from Google to googlize something ...

  • Zak Taccardi

    where do Widgets go?

    • Josh Crumley

      Ooh..good question

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      That's still unknown. As I said in the post, that's one part we don't have evidence for. My personal theory is that traditional home screens could go between the app grid and the recents menu, but again we aren't sure. It's also possible the app grid is just an exploratory element and will be ditched.

  • Sean Thomas

    I'm happy they are experimenting with things other than the home screen/app grid paradigm of 2007 ... this seems a bit confusing right now though.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Hmm, the swipe system is intersting and the notification shade definitely needs some kind of an overhaul, but I'm not digging those new navbar buttons (if they are real) and the notifications going fully into Google Now

  • brkshr

    Thank God for third party launchers!

    If they do away with the app drawer &/or widget. I will definitely be using a third party launcher.

  • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

    I believe this is going to be on top of Android features and not changes to the Android OS itself. Think of it as Google using Notifications API to come up with this skin on top of Android. Same goes for other things like multi-tasking etc. This looks too Googly to be integrated into Android OS.

    I think from now on, Android as OS will only see framework level features that OEMs (including Google) can use to build on top of it. Think of it as Linux base OS and all the desktop environments that give different user experience.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I think you probably hit the nail on the head. Google wants to put its own experience on top of Android, instead of making Android its own experience.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        So instead of "Skins" we will be calling TouchWiz, Sense etc. distros like on desltop linux, huh?

        • ddpacino

          Essentially. It's that way now. Each skin used pulls Android into a whole new world.

        • Tyler

          I wouldn't exactly use the word distros because you can't easily put touchwiz on an HTC phone.

        • Lucas

          Except there's a compatibility test to make sure different Android versions are compatible with each other.
          There's nothing like that in the GNU/Linux world, what makes it a real mess.

          The .RPM (Redhat/Fedora) vs .DEB (Debian/Ubuntu) installation package formats are the best example of that of competing competing incompatible technology problems caused by having no standard to follow.

          Even openness can be too much!

      • Gav456

        Is this likely to be integrated into Android Silver alone?

        • maysider

          If so, without widgets or app draw the Silver program is dead to me and to everyone with a brain

      • maysider

        Anyway, removing widgets and app drawer as it is is a creation by a very ill mind
        I don't like this Android made for idi*ts who bring nothing to Android community or Google

      • Joris Griffioen

        I've been calling them "forks" for years. Maybe technically not correct but much closer to the truth than "skin". Distro works too I guess..

        • Nand Null

          Launcher apps?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      This is almost definitely the basic idea Google has here. They want to brand Google's Android, and Regular Android will remain something OEMs can build on.

      Their purpose is twofold, I think. First, they want to demonstrate to users how much Google can add to the experience. If they can convince handset makers that customers prefer the Google software in a meaningful way, more OEMs will come around to the idea of things like Android Silver and offering at least some non-skinned hardware options. Google is devoted to making a software experience that heavily leverages Google services, and they're not going to let the handset makers reap all the benefits but still get to bury Google under a skin anymore. There's definitely a bit of friction that's going to happen by moving in this direction.

      The other purpose is in no longer having to support a legacy UI just because that's what OEMs design their software around. Google has been bound to the same basic UI scheme since the Eclair days. Separating out a new Google UI from Android will allow them to explore, and OEMs can continue to use the old software if they're really insistent about the branding.

      • ltredbeard

        I don't mean to be dense, but how are the handset makers burying Google?

        • Ruben Martinez Jr.

          With skins like TouchWiz, it makes it harder for users to access the "Google" within Android. i.e. Samsung using Android but promoting S-Voice and burying Google Now in harder-to-reach areas of the OS.

          • ltredbeard

            I've never used s-voice. What search engine does it use?

          • Ruben Martinez Jr.

            It's a customized version of Google (CSE) that allows Samsung to place its own ads alongside search results.

          • Fraught

            Well, Samsung is Samsung, that's just one example. Most other manufacturers, like HTC with their Sense, have moved closer and closer to the vanilla Android experience lately.

          • Ruben Martinez Jr.

            True. Not denying that, and even Samsung will probably move closer to vanilla soon at Google's insistence. I'm personally not a fan of this direction Google is going in with their launcher...

      • IamTheFij

        I know it's late, but if this is true (and seems to be the direction they are heading anyway with Google Apps), you're missing an even bigger implication that corroborates with the "talks" Google has had with OEMs forking Android.

        By Google opening up Apis and implementing their own User Experience on top of them instead of building it into Android, they are enabling OEMs to do the same and giving them a demo.

        If they can separate Android and the OEM (or Google) User Experience, it's less core changes that have to be integrated when Google pushes a new Android update. This means we could see faster updates from partners since their experience apps would be able to remain unchanged.

    • EH101

      I hope you are right, I wouldn't use a device this Google-fied. Pretty hideous imo.

    • gokh

      I want to use an Android phone, not a Google phone...

      • senor_heisenberg

        So you want to use an Android phone....

        • ANex

          Yes. We want to use an Android phone. Android phone does not mean Google phone.

      • Patrik

        I want to use a Google phone, not an Android phone! have you seen a pure AOSP ROM these days. looks really old, ugly and outdated

        • needa

          indeed. it is time for a change. i just hope that change isnt a sea of icons spread across seven pages. where re-ordering and sorting icons is a huge pain in the butt.

        • IamTheFij

          The reason for that is because Google stopped improving it and started pushing their closed source apps.

          CM, PA, Omni and other forks are going to have significantly better features than AOSP to (in theory) be on par with a "Google" phone.

    • pfmiller

      You may be right. It certainly does have much in common with other vendor skins, particularly in the way it makes me want to keep it as far away from any of my devices as possible.

    • MrWicket

      think you nailed it!

    • Roger Siegenthaler

      The wider implications of this is that custom launchers could change the notifications shade, navigation buttons... truely custom rom features available as apps, a dream come true almost :).

    • Neon

      Based on your theory and the recent addition of firmware updater within Google Play Services, I believe google maybe trying to crush the Android OS fragmentation issue. My theory is that Google will release new APIs which will allow OEM's to customize android to their liking without modifying core android, much like the cyanogenmod theme engine. There will be this basic 'base' android which can be modified to look different using new APIs without modifying any code in the base AOSP code. This way Google will be able to bring updates faster without affecting the OEM skins. Eg - If any major security vulnerability is detected in the firmware (AOSP code), Google will be able to push updates to all devices at once thus securing devices and tackling the fragmentation issue. The update will only affect the base os and the OEM skin will remain intact and unaffected since skins wont rely on base android anymore.

  • Eszol

    To hell with this

  • wicketr

    Google, you kill my widgets, i'll kill you.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Don't kill anything just yet. We're still not certain of Google's plans for widgets, and as I said in another comment, the app grid could just be an exploratory element.

    • Adam Truelove

      Most likely this is all part of the launcher you'd get on a Nexus device, not Android itself.

      • pfmiller

        Well were really screwed I guess if we won't even be able to get a clean Android experience from Google themselves.

  • Defenestratus

    No widgets ... no android.

    Its a defining feature of the OS. You can't take it away without dire repercussions.

    Reference: Windows Start Button.

    • Bariman43

      Did you miss the part where this was a "rumor?"

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      As I've said elsewhere (and now made more clear in the post) the app grid could just be exploration, and traditional home screens could still fit in this scheme. We aren't 100% sure either way.

      • Shane Redman

        I think widgets will only be on lockscreens going forward. Their prime meaning of existence is to give you quick information at a glance. That's exactly what lock screen widgets do.

        • Jake

          Some of the most useful widgets contain information that I wouldn't want on the lock screen for security purposes.

          • Shane Redman

            This too is true. IDK, i'm excited to see how it all comes together. No matter what happens, some ppl will love it, some ppl will hate it.

      • DirkBelig

        For Android to even explore copying the pathetic and ugly iOS "all ur appz iz on teh hoemscreenz" look* is like a vegetarian exploring whether they'd like to add meat to their diet by killing and eating a hobo. Insane to even contemplate, much less do.

        * I picked up a cheap used iPad to see what the big deal was after using Android for a couple of years and was appalled by the fixed, cluttered screens of icons. Meanwhile my Nexus 7 sat with nothing on the center screen but a clock while I put various apps and widgets on the side screens.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          "Google home screen design: Just like killing hobos."

          Honestly, do you guys even listen to yourselves half the time?

          • DirkBelig

            Does it hurt to be a humorless killjoy with no capacity to appreciate florid rhetoric? You must be fun at parties and by that I mean no fun.

        • Wesley Modderkolk

          "Meanwhile my Nexus 7 sat with nothing on the center screen but a clock while I put various apps and widgets on the side screens."

          Until you had to go to the app drawer...

          • DirkBelig

            What the hell does that even mean? I know a lot of jerks on the Internet are miserable unless they pinch something off that they can imagine is a brilliant comment on a stranger's post. Too bad for your sad and empty life that you only revealed that you can't tell the difference between opening the app drawer to launch one of 150 apps installed and it closing and having five screens of icons always visible. Moron.

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            Wow, calm down dude.

            And well, apparently having all those apps there is very cluttered. Well, so is the app drawer, which apparently is perfectly fine for some reason.

            I can only imagine it being annoying when you spend way too much time looking at your home screen. The time spent in your launcher is time not spent in the apps you unlocked your device for.

          • DirkBelig

            Yep, you're retarded. Let me see if a picture helps your stupid ass. When you have a 3D animated live wallpaper such as this - https://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/432x691q90/600/j6le.png -

            ...or that shirtless picture of Justin Bieber you have on your homescreen, why have it covered with hundreds of app icons when they can be hidden away? Hmmmm?

            Will someone please break this post down to single-syllable words for this jerk idiot to understand?

            Back under your bridge, troll.

          • sup

            Dude, what the hell is wrong with you?

          • axel salmeron

            looks like someone It's very virgin

          • Wesley Modderkolk

            Good for you. You want a medal for that, or is the acknowledgement enough?

          • Semianonymous

            You harp about asthetics and leave a giant ugly hole in the bottom hole and still 2clock, even though you clearly have a custom rom (still a jelly bean rom too...paranoid android 3.99?). You also have inconsistent status and navbar sizes, which is gross and creates a bizarre ratio. It looks like you also have a second battery meter of some sort, which is weird.
            In my opinion, after looking at your homescreen, you are in no position to discuss aesthetics.

          • DirkBelig

            It's an old screenshot from June 2013 of my old Nexus 7 which ran STOCK JELLYBEAN, you pedantic asstackler. (KitKat hadn't happened yet, jerk.) I hadn't put a folder in that spot yet, I like having a digital readout of my battery level. I have no idea what your 2 o'clock loaf refers to and I'll bet neither do you; you're just piling on because you heard the "ASSHOLES ASSEMBLE!" dog whistle and figured everyone else shouldn't have all the fun exposing how they're fucking retards. That you too have no clue about why it's desirable to have a clean home screen, there's no point trying to explain it further. BTW, you have something in your teeth. Looks like a bit of Steve Jobs' nutsack.

          • Semianonymous

            2clock refers to your multiple redundant clocks, which have been easy to hide since froyo
            swear words make you look super mature and make me want to take you seriously
            I don't use apple products (except the frankly unreasonably excellent Bluetooth keyboard) so your super witty steve nutsack joke is kind funny for the wrong reasons.
            Would you like to show us your so much more better homescreen?
            I encourage you to have fun. I've spent ages messing with my note 2. And my S2. And my G2X. And my Nexus One. And my G1. But you're behaving like an expert (and kind of a huge dick) when your only display of proof is the work of a rank amateur.

          • Semianonymous

            also, excuse the mistaking stock for a custom rom. I forgot that was what phablet mode looks like by default, my note 2 used to have a status bar that size and for whatever reason I thought I custom set it to that size via paranoid preferences rather than just setting it to phablet by default.

          • DirkBelig

            Still waiting for the super-easy way to turn off the notification bar clock that you mentioned. Remember, no alternate launchers, ROMs or mods are allowed. Just what anyone with a stock phone can do. Here's your chance to show up a rank amateur. Tick-tock...

          • Guest

            I'm sorry, could you please present your credentials certifying that you're a trained UI NAZI qualified to scold people for having the incorrect number of clocks and battery indicators on their phones. It must make you overfill your diaper seeing all the people who have time/weather widgets on their home screens. "HEY, YOU HAVE TWO CLOCKS! DON'T YOU KNOW HOW TO HIDE ONE?!?" you scream with impotent rage. Since you're such an l337 genius who totally doesn't have hunks of Jobs scrote in your teeth, how do you hide the notification bar clock WITHOUT MODS, ALTERNATE LAUNCHERS, ETC? [Jeopardy theme....] In case I don't want a clock that's easy to see at a distance or something.

            Amateur? I've had/have an OG EVO 4G, Galaxy S II, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, both Nexus 7s, ASUS Transformer and converted my HP TouchPad to Android. Plenty of Android use here, which is why a regression from a flexible UI to an Apple-style, "Here's all your icons, babies, because you're too fucking stupid to find them if they're hidden in a drawer," layout is insane to even contemplate. It would mean Android hired Matias Duarte to give up providing flexibility in favor of mimicking an inferior and ugly layout.

          • DirkBelig

            I'm sorry, could you please present your credentials certifying that you're a trained UI NAZI and not just a bag of dicks missing the point? Who fucking cares if I have a large clock widget that's visible at a distance? Is it causing your diaper rash to warm up? You must want to scream with impotent rage at all the people who have Fancy or Beautiful Widgets installed showing the time and weather. So much butthurt.

            Since you're so l337, why not enlighten this "rank amateur"* by telling me how it's so easy to hide the notification clock? BTW, you're instructions cannot require the use of ROMs, alternate launchers or hacked files. Just tell me where the checkbox is. If you can.

            * I've owned an EVO 4G, Galaxy S II, Nexus 4 and 5 and both 7s, an ASUS Transformer and put Android on my HP TouchPads. This is why the idea of devolving to Apple's stupid layout of cluttering the home screen with every app the user has installed because they know the iTards are too fucking stupid to find them in a drawer (where do they keep their silverware?) is abhorrent to me.

    • miri

      Windows' Start button wasn't taken away...

      • Joe Coppola
        • miri

          I think you posted the wrong link. That's about the Start menu, not the button.

      • impulse101

        Said the man living under a rock

        • miri

          The button was always there both on the keyboard and as a hot corner (and as a capacitive key on touch devices). In 8.1, they re-established it as a permanent fixture on the taskbar but, again, it was always there. ;)

          • Fraught

            As the user of a Windows 8 computer, can you please, PLEASE explain to me how the ever-loving fuck a "hot corner" matters in this situation?

            Windows 8 removed the Start button from where it used to be, in the state we used to be accustomed to. Windows 8.1 brought the button back, but not the menu. In any case, it was a change to the interface almost no one liked, which is the whole point of that comment.

            Jesus H. Christ.

    • Wesley Modderkolk

      imo, widgets are a dying thing. They hardly show any information and all they do is take in space, with the moving developments where everything will be under your hands then widgets become more of a clutter than an actual feature.

      • DirkBelig

        This reply and your steamy runny dumps you've taken on my comments prove you're a troll. Sod off, Weasley Molderkock! Get back under your bridge!

        • Wesley Modderkolk

          Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean he is a troll.

          Also, are you 5 years old or something?

      • Fraught

        A lot of people use widgets, and as an owner of both Android and iOS devices, I can tell you that a big, BIG part of the jailbreak community uses widgets on their iDevices. Just because you think it's clutter doesn't mean everyone does. I hope you realize the error in thinking your judgment should be applied to everyone.

        • Wesley Modderkolk

          I know that many people use widgets. But then is the question, do they really need it? I don't think so. I use widgets too, why? Because I don't like looking at an empty home screen. And that is my idea, many, many people use it to make it look good on their homescreen or out of pure interest. I don't think many people will miss it.

          And certainly with this rumored launcher, information is much easier accessible and so is search, rendering widgets pretty much obsolete.

    • Theromz

      IDK, I used to be the guy that would have all sorts of widgets and customisations set up with UCCW, but these days I use 1 widget, Dashboard, on my lock screen and thats all.

      I do think widgets are still a huge part of Android but if Google moves a lot more into Google now e.g. calendars, notes, and so on I could see a lot less use for widgets. Most of my friends/family only have widgets for calendar, weather, keep note, and sometimes a rss widget of sorts.

  • Aooga

    How do you guys make the mockups? Illustrator?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      In general yes, I primarily use Illustrator. For the animations, I export the Illustrator file to a PSD and import that file into After Effects.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        But how do you put them into the articles on AP?

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          That's the real secret.

          • Kareem Ayman

            export the After Effects animation as a mp4 file and then use a player with loop functionality...

      • Mystery Man
      • Aooga

        Thanks.

  • Bariman43

    I'll reserve full judgment for an official announcement, but so far I'm liking these rumors and hoping most of them are true.

  • Tony

    Every single item in this post would be a downgrade if added to android!! Google was like what can we change, hmm how about we take away the most used button the Home button yeh that sounds great, get off the drugs Google!!

  • Mastermind26

    googlizing to make it more iOS???

    Mmm. How about NO.

    • Jake

      I felt the same way when they put Google Now as the left-most home screen, just like iOS does search. I hate it, because when I'm in an app, and I want to jump to Google Now by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, I can't simply hit "back" to exit Google Now and get to the app or home screen; I have to swipe right...stupid. It also screwed up my wide background images, because instead of being centered when I'm the main home screen, it's on the left edge of the image.

      • pfmiller

        Yup, all this. And how about when you hit the home button and you end up on Google Now because that's the last screen you were on. Google Now is *never* where I want to end up when i hit the Home button

      • Fraught

        "[...] just like iOS used to do search."

        Fixed it for you.

  • Anthony Tyson

    I'll take 3

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    The only problem I see with that is that I don't think they could put all this Google emphasis into AOSP. Maybe this is a Nexus (or Silver) thing.

    Plus, it would be weird to not have a home button or at least a "home to come home to". You would either have to constantly BE in an opened app or live in the multitasking area, which are two very strange things.

    • jm9843

      Why do you ever have to go to the home screen unless you are a widgets user?

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        This is a really interesting question, and one for which I have no answer except that to existing users it likely just feels comfortable to have a landing place. I still think home screens will find their way in, just not sure where. But the question of whether they are necessary is a good one.

        • http://farukahmet.blogspot.com/ Faruk Ahmet

          To lessen the cognitive load on your brain. Transitional, dynamic things like notification shades, multitasking screens and the insides of the apps themselves all expect you to *do something*, to choose an action, which requires mental effort no matter how small. It may not be a homescreen in the traditional 'rows of icons' sense, but everyone, not just "existing users", needs a central resting space where you don't feel like you *have to* do something. You don't really *need* squares in a city either—streets are more than enough—but it would be a hellish place to live in.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            I don't think an app grid really calls out to you for action, but that's a subjective feeling. I agree that the other spaces you mentioned call for action, but I see a point of view in which blank home screens aren't necessary. Is it my point of view? No, but I can understand it.

          • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

            Thanks for this input, I found it very enlightening =)

          • jm9843

            The "resting space" for a smartphone is your pocket when you put it away. I'd make the argument that removing the home screen actually reduces the cognitive load.

        • heat361

          Also what would happen if you have all apps closed would hiting the multitasking button jump straight into the home screen?

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            Well, it should jump back to the some kind of widget/app grind so you could actually launch something else

          • jm9843

            Apps are never really closed, only suspended. And with modern smartphones having 2-3gb of ram, they often don't have to leave memory at all and can resume instantly.

        • duse

          The purpose of the home screen is pretty clear: to have an area where YOU define how your workspace is laid out. I like the Android home screen because I can put widgets and icons where they make sense and are easy to get to for me. Widgets let me "passively" see information - the info can be glanced at as I'm going past the screen to do something else. I don't want to see all apps all the time, arranged alphabetically instead of in a useful order.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        To access the app drawer or shortcuts that I placed on my home screen, else how would I get to all those 100 apps I have on my device?

        • jm9843

          Did you read the article? The answer to your question is contained within.

      • Nathan Borup

        one word... Wallpaper :D

      • Cian

        when you want to launch a new app

        • jm9843

          That isn't necessary in the UX that Liam describes in the article.

      • thunderbird32

        I would say that yes, there is no REAL reason to go back to the home screen. However, this is such a fundamental change in how people interact with the OS that it could really turn people off of it. In Windows 8 there is no reason one must have the traditional start menu, but the metro start screen was so different from what people expected that it's pushed many long time Windows users to stay away from updating.

        Ultimately, people hate change.

        • Jake

          Except that some apps will drain the battery faster if you just turn off the screen while they're still in the foreground.

          • pfmiller

            Some apps will drain battery unnecessarily no matter what. I don't like this design at all, but this is not an argument against it. Broken apps can and should be fixed.

    • Andri Agassi

      I never "come home" after doing things with my phone. I just lock the screen from wherever I am.

      Is that a bad habit? I mean like is it affecting my battery life or something?

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        I don't think so, no... I mean, it just feels nice to me when I finish doing what I wanted to do with it that I can hit the home button and go to a "neutral" place - besides, since my widgets are there, I can give it a last spin through the home screens to see if there's anything new. I don't know, I guess it's just different ways to use the phone =)

  • Arthur

    Aesthetically it is pleasing and in line with the KitKat design language but if features are removed instead of being enhanced or added upon then this isn't good for anyone who is accustomed to the current way of doing things in Android.

    Luckily this is a rumor and no sense in overreacting or jumping to unnecessary conclusions.

  • Vardan Nazaretyan

    Pretty futuristic and Google Now-centric approach. I doubt this will work good in countries where Google Now isn't as functional as it is in the US and some of EU countries. I do hope that Google will sort everything out with Gnow until this overhaul is released to the public!

  • Anthony

    It seems like the app drawer will be integrated into recents. I dont think it will be taken away from the home screen but more of a way to get to apps without exiting to home screen and then going into the app drawer

    • EH101

      That actually makes a lot of sense. A dedicated "button" to get to the app drawer would/should speed up multitasking. The card ui though for the running apps, seems like a giant step backwards.

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    I would welcome this change. There really is not a single bad thing about it, assuming you are using Google Now.

    This "demonstration" also shows how old Android is looking. Although we aren't very aware of this being the case, such demonstrations like this, or even GNL shows that Android is looking old. Certainly the Notification area, status bar and navigation bar are looking old, even though they are very useful on it's functions and will still be in the next few years.

    Looking forward to this(if this is true) and Android could very much use an more unified, Card-like experience, and bringing it to the notification screen and everywhere else in Android would be a logical step.

    • ChicagoPete

      I agree, especially with the notification shade. I think it is fantastically useful and functional as it is now, but as soon as I saw the mock-ups in the article I thought "Of course it should look like this!".

      The double swipe-up thing...whatever, I'll get used to it. But the card system for notifications should be a no-brainer.

    • bimsebasse

      I'd say having a big "Google" logo on my screen at all times qualifies as a single bad thing - that alone will make stock a no-go for me.

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        I'm a bit neutral on that. On one side, the branding is annoying, but on the other it makes it rather clear that it does Google related stuff.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      What's exactly so "old" about them?

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        Their design is pretty bland and has more of a function look than actually looking good. Much like how GNL replaced the previous launcher. Nothing was wrong with the old launcher, but GNL made the previous one look old.

        And the same is happening here, the new design is making the current design look old.

        • pfmiller

          Why is old bad? Old is mature and refined. I still wish I could get the "old" launcher back without disabling Google Now entirely, it just worked better. And this new design looks even less desirable to me.

  • Danny Glover

    Other than the recents icon now looking like browser tabs, the new navbar reminds me of Windows Phone OS *gasp!*

  • Guest

    I sincerely hate a lot of things in this rumor and hope it isn't true. :(

  • Kosma

    I like it but it needs a dark theme.

  • Nogib

    I used widgets when I got my first Galaxy S phone years ago but now on my Nexus I don't use them at all. They were more of a fad or casual curiosity to me than a necessary function so if they went away I wouldn't miss them one bit.

  • Randroid

    Getting rid of the app drawer is going backwards in my opinion. That's one thing that I really hate about the iPhone's interface. It's incredibly annoying to me to have EVERYTHING on your "home screen." It's like Windows users who have everything on their desktop.

    That being said, this sounds like a change being made to the default launcher and not Android as a whole. If that's the case, I'm fine with it as long as Nova launcher lets me have my app drawer,

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      That is probably the case - I would predict this as part of the GNL, or Google's own Android experience specifically for their devices, not a change that would sweep all Android devices.

      • jumnhy

        Do you think Google would choose to make it exclusive to their branded (potentially Android Silver?) devices? Or, similar to GNL, available as a sideloadable experience?

    • Christopher Bement

      Perhas they'll change the XGELS module to put the drawer back in and negate this ios grid idea.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Speaking of XGELS, I would be really happy to see it integrated as a stock component of the GNL launcher, I understand that on Android you have a gazillion of alternatives, but Google should't have such a barebones launcher and make it stand out

  • coversnails

    Certainly hope the Google button doesn't make the final version. It looked horrible when HTC had an HTC home button and this looks as bad. Aso can imagine all manufacturers and carriers changing it to their name!

    • http://www.droid-life.com/ Steve B

      Apologies, but you're an idiot.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Actually he's not, who says OEMs wouldn't do this to their favor to stand out even more UI-wise? I could see manufacturer logos/names instead of the "Google" button, especially now that several of them have their own "Google Now" assisstant

  • Tony

    We should all spam Matias Duarte's g+ account saying how horrible this is, maybe it'll send a message :)

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Somehow I doubt that would achieve the desired result.

      • Bob G

        What if the desired result is to be blocked by Matias Duarte?

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          I stand corrected.

  • Christopher Bement

    iOS-style app grids are retarded. That's the main part about this that I don't like. I won't mention the lack of widgets since you don't have anything on that...but seriously, give me a fucking drawer to put my apps in so they don't clutter my screen.

    • ddpacino

      There's a grid of apps in the app drawer.....

      • Christopher Bement

        I'm talking about removing the app drawer and only keeping icons on the home screens. You swung and missed there, buddy. I like the grid layout in the app drawer, nothing wrong with that, but I can close the app drawer and not have to put each one on my screens. That's what I like about it.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        But the app drawer is not the main part of the launcher though, unlike iOS

  • Rob Johnson

    "Google Now has moved around a lot since its initial introduction. At present, it lives to the left of the leftmost home screen."

    Only if you can get that launcher to work!

  • http://galaxynote3tips.blogspot.com/ Martens Nkem

    Google better not try this, otherwise am heading to WP or iOS

    • http://googleplusdaily.com/ Lee Jarratt

      "We've got a badass over here!"

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Keep us updated on that matter

  • br_hermon

    I'm not so sure that I like this for me personally but man I called this! Anybody out there from the podcast chat? 2 weeks ago or so (?) when they first started talking about this, I brought it up in the IRC chat. I wondered aloud what if Google just eliminated the homescreen as we know it.

    It makes sense, UX wise. Other than looking aesthetically pleasing, the homescreen really doesn't serve a purpose (except for widgets but I'll touch on that in a second). You unlock your phone, see the homescreen for a split second as you navigate to open whatever app you want to use. Most of the time you spend on your device is in whatever app. You only go back to the homescreen when you're "finished." And even that is just conditioned behavior due to habit. So what about widgets?

    I suggested, what if they combine widgets and the thumbnail for the app in the multitask window? The gmail widget is nothing more than a smaller window-fied version of the gmail app, allowing you a look at your recent emails. Well what if the thumbnail in multitasking updated live? It would essentially update & behave as a widget and give you access to the app. One image, multipurpose. In some ways it almost mimics the Windows Live tiles concept. This doesn't work for in all instances of widgets but its compelling none the less.

    And the app drawer? Well the multitask is nothing more than a list of shortcuts (albeit recent). The app drawer is the same thing, shortcuts. So merge them. Widgets, Recents and App shortcuts all presented in one single area. This entire concept really takes several areas and efficiently merges them cutting out the excess. With the homescreen out of the picture, it allows Google to step further into the spot light and put search front and center.

    Now with all that said, do I like this idea? No, not really. I'm much more comfortable in a homescreen / desktop setting. But do I see the argument and logic behind it, totally.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Here's the thing: widgets should just be placed on the lockscreen, and not just select ones but add support for ANY widget available. Boom, then add an easy access fto the app drawer from the lockscreen (I'm thinking the ring shortcuts found in custom ROMs) and there you go - you wouldn't ever need the launcher, ever

      • br_hermon

        While what you're saying could work. I for one have never been much of a fan of widgets on the lockscreen. I use it for what it's meant for, LOCKING someone out of my information. I see lockscreen widgets, though convenient, as a security compromise. To each his own I know, though not my cup of tea.

  • manlisten

    That Google logo looks awful there. At the very least just use the lowercase "g". Not crazy about most of this.

  • EowynCarter

    Not sure how I feel about this. We'll see I guess.

  • Zargh

    The 4.4.3 changes in Launcher3 (which is the base for Google Now Launcher) makes sense with this in context:

    dff0bfe Do not allow duplicate shortcuts when ALL_APPS is disabled.
    da41ea6 Allow 5 hotseat icons in DISABLE_ALL_APPS mode.
    306c1cf Show widgets when ALL_APPS is disabled.

    • heat361

      Yeah I saw that it seems to me that they might give the option of disabling the app drawer and widgets or enabling them.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Nice catch, that's very interesting. So maybe there will be an option, as heat361 said, to enable or disable the grid.

      • brkshr

        Sounds like they are going to have the option for an Android style launcher or an iOS style launcher. Maybe this is an effort to make it easier for iOS converts.

      • http://www.twitter.com/dsilinski Darren

        You should update the post to reflect this - it seems like pretty important info.

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          Done! I also added a bonus gif to the Notification section.

  • lnfected

    Google knows what they are doing okay. Don't judge them from such rumors

  • slurivariv

    I really love the Notifications mock-up. The other changes I'll get used to or find a work around if I don't like them.

  • lynx

    I use Google Now, but this looks absolutely terrible. I don't want to have to remember a specific series of swipes just to get anywhere like I'm mashing buttons on an old school Nintendo game. Plus, assuming everything you could want from your widgets would be available as a Now element is arrogant and foolish. I use my widgets and homescreen folders extensively.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      To be fair, no one said widgets or folders are definitely dead, and I don't think widgets would be replaced by Google Now anyway, though it's clear Now will be a big focus.

      • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

        Maybe you should bold it out in the article so people wouldn't fear for widgets and folders so much

    • Jaymoon

      I have similar feelings about all of these gestures. Especially when I think about my mom trying to figure this out. If she doesn't "see" what she's supposed to be doing, she doesn't do it. If there's no button, or obvious clue as to what to do, she's officially stuck. If she accidentally taps a button or icon, stuff is happening she's not expecting, and panic sets in.

      I have to imagine she's not the only one at this usability level. I personally use gestures only as an alternative, and they don't always enter my immediate thought process unless it's a repetitive task I'm engaged in.

  • Scott

    So... isn't this bad like Windows RT?

  • Doeet

    Why not get rid of system buttons and put the notification bar on bottom and swipe-up on bottom-left for notifications, bottom-middle for Home, and bottom-right for multitasking. More screen real estate this way.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      So basically go back to tablet UI from Honeycomb and merge notification shade with the navbar but on all devices

      • Doeet

        A man can dream! Seriously people loved that for tablets. But I'd change it by making the bottom bar small like the height of the notification shade and have 3 swipe-up gestures and no buttons so it's almost full-screen. Though should in settings probably have option to bring the buttons back since some people will prefer that method.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Or better yet have a full imersive mode on default, I mean it's not like you can't access your controls from there, right?

          And if Google merged notifications with the navbar (it would make sense when we see them phones growing in sizes almost on a yearly basis), you would get additional screen estate when you do a gesture to access the merged navbar AND you wouldn't have to stretch out to the top of the screen to access the quick settings and the notification shade.

          Yeah, I too liked the way it was on ICS when I had my HTC Flyer with a custom ICS based ROM

          • Doeet

            Full immersive mode would be nice too. And definitely with the phablets and not having to reach and/or regrip your phone to reach the notification shade everytime. Though I would then like to see the end of the Back button for this to work(I know some people love that but me not so much). Though you could on now smaller bottom bar swipe from right-to-left to go to last used app so could get some of the functionality back that way.

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            I actually would like to see a merged navnotifbar on ALL devices, not just phablets and tablets. The usability of having all your controls in the bottom is essential, that's why Google is moving away from the overflow menu in its apps and instead puts the stuff into hamburger menu

          • Doeet

            Completely agree!

  • HunterTStinker

    NO. Just no.

  • Srinivas Rajkumar

    It looks good at the same time it looks confusing and incomplete and kind of destroys user experience which is definitely not google style. Hopefully there will more to this rumor.

  • samuelmaskell

    Am I the only one who doesn't give a shit about widgets? I've been an android power user and app developer pretty much since day one but I barely ever find myself using widgets, especially since most of the functionality can now be placed in a notification, e.g. music controls. This design looks pretty good to me.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Well, widgets are more useful for apps like mail clients so that if I hear a "cling" telling me there's a new email, I wouldn't have to go into notification shade to see some basic info about the email itself because I Can do it from the widget and immediately access it from there, especially when you have multiple new emails and the expanded notification view does not give you the contents but just the list of all new emails you got

      • samuelmaskell

        How is that better? The notification shade is available everywhere. To get to the widget you have to go back to the home screen then swipe over to whichever screen your widget is on. Seems worse to me.

        Anyway, that's not really the point. I do get that widgets can be useful to some people. If you like them, great. That's cool. Everyone's different. I'm just surprised at the number of people complaining since I really couldn't care less. Then again, I guess people who don't care aren't the ones who are commenting.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          It's not the matter of better/worse but rather the options you have. And Android is all about options.

          Of course accessing something like an email notification is easier when you are in an app like a browser or something, but if I am on the homescreen already - what's the point of going into the shade then? That's when the widget comes in - it is one swipe away from showing me the email I got (Well, not all of it, at least in Gmail, but a few lines and the sender/subject). Only problem I see if when you get more than two - then the notification becomes less useful than a widget with the actual list of your inbox, because you can't have expanded view for every mail you got

          So obviously widgets should stay, and it's sad not every developer understands their usefulness (i.e. some apps don't have widgets at all when they need them actually)

        • Satan’s Taint

          Not everything revolves around you and your uninformed opinions big boy.

          • samuelmaskell

            Thanks for not even bothering to read what I said. You're really adding to the conversation.

    • didibus

      Only widget I use and enjoy is DashClock. Mixed with Smart Launcher, it's actually really awesome. Apart from that, I agree with you completely.

  • vyktorsouza

    I love it, seriously can't wait to see it finished
    already excited

  • rotz055

    "The back button seems to work as you'd expect"
    Have you used android?

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Well, as you'd expect relative to your current experience. Which is to say "not work."

    • didibus

      Haha, actually, I was curious, is Windows Phone back button works 100% of the time, or is it like Android?

    • jb

      Have you? If you use it long enough you should know exactly how it works...

  • manlisten

    They should let you customize the image in the notifications shade.

  • http://www.standupforkids.org blackroseMD1

    All the heads exploding here over a rumor is hilarious.

    I actually like it. I'm willing to bet it's more of an add on of GNL than a full OS redesign.

    • Christopher Bement

      More than positive most of the changes are GNL only, but the softkeys and notifications usually aren't launcher-specific. That could change in the future, though.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        I am thinking the navigation keys and notification shade (and multitasking maybe) will break out of SystemUI in the future, since the functionality provided by these things in the descriptions above rely on Google's own services.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          So Android can actually become framework and systemUI independent 100%

        • didibus

          I hope this is the case so bad. Being able to download 3rd party Recents, and 3rd party Notifications, and 3rd party swipe up perma running apps, etc. Would be so awesome! I love me some customization!

          • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

            Frankly, with the Notification Listener API, I'm surprised third-party notification shades haven't become a thing yet.

          • didibus

            I'm not sure, but I don't think it's possible to remove the notification shade UI for now. So you can't replace it's front end.

  • Cian

    Seems to me that if the recent apps view really looks anything like the one you mocked up, switching to another app will take a lot longer and require a lot more swiping then we're used to.

  • hyperbolic

    It looks like if they change it today, Android users wouldn't complain.
    It can differently be the new UI.

  • Drago

    An iOS like app grid? No widgets?

    Surely you jest, Google. If this does happen, I would think, at the very least, that it would all be optional and not even on by default. I love Google Now, but there's a such thing as too much of a good thing. I like the current notification pull down implementation.

  • Daire O Connor

    Looks horrible. If my notification shade changes to a Google now style window I will be very unhappy!

  • EH101

    This would be enough to make me leave Android if it's all forced on us. If the notification shade, for instance, can only take this form, then I'd rather not have it at all. At least the hideous launcher design should still be able to be replaced by Nova.

  • YETI

    I am wondering where the system would take you the first time you unlock your device, first panel of home screen, or maybe Google now

  • shlk7

    Seems like a cool idea. Hopefully it looks nice as well !

  • bremberdee

    Garish.

  • Simon Belmont

    Very interesting. It's fun to see an OS that I use so much, in so many capacities, screen sizes, and versions, have such a different take on itself.

    I hope that Google I/O will clarify a lot of this because it could be great, or it could be a mess (a very thin line for either). I'm all for gestures, but they aren't easily discoverable by new users (but end up feeling more intuitive as one gets used to them), and I really would be upset to see widgets eliminated because I rely on them heavily. For me, I'm still mostly looking forward to the OK Google everywhere aspect. I just want to be able to bark a command at my idle phone (a Nexus 5) sitting near me and have it intelligently reply and/or act on it completely hands-free.

  • fallenyogi

    A Google-branded button would be as annoying as a huge Verizon logo (read: very).

    And while I love function Google Now, I really hate the look of its card--the annoying mountains and so much gray space. I'd hate to have to see that card everytime I check my notifications. I hope this changes a lot.

  • Kandarp Khandwala

    Personally, I'd like Google Chrome style gestures system wide.
    1. Swipe down from the Action Bar to bring the recents in a stack. Swipe left or right to dismiss the recents.
    2. Swipe left or right from the Action Bar to navigate to home or recents.

    If they manage to do this without affecting in app gestures too, I'm sold.

  • Amr

    swipe down on the action bar of an app to enter multitasking.
    Sounds like swiping down in chrome to enter tab switcher.

    • didibus

      The problem I see with this, is that it won't work on all apps, not every apps have an action bar.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        There's always the multitasking button.

  • alex777

    Nah , i dont like it.

    • Alko Pone

      Hooow?

      • Alex

        SoftKeyZ

  • BB Wicasa

    Lock screen widgets could be the replacement for home screen widgets. it makes sense, since they've introduced it already.

    • didibus

      Not a bad idea.

      • pfmiller

        Yes it is. I don't all of my widgets visible without unlocking.

    • https://plus.google.com/+MichaelBond codemonkey85

      I'd be more okay with this if you could have more than one widget per screen.

  • nodoubtgetloud

    I hope these are just things that are implemented in google's android and that they stay far, far away from aosp. This looks like 5 steps backwards compared to what we have now.

    • Matthew Fry

      I think it's an improvement on the notification shade. If they're going to require that background operations have notifications, they need to go somewhere else.

    • didibus

      OnePlus One, I guess maybe I'm glad CyanogenMod turned legit, it would be nice to have two Androids, both retaining app compatibility, but with diverging mantra on UI.

  • Matthew Fry

    The "Google" button seems haughty and unnecessary given Google is already getting complaints that Google services are too integrated into the OS. There's speculation that Google is draconian in their requirements for OEMs that want Play Services for their devices. Now they add a dedicated Google button? Can you imagine if it were an icon created by whatever search provider you have. It could be a "Bing" button or a ... ok there's not that many search options anymore. On the other hand, if they're making these changes to the nav bar so launchers can customize it, that'd be way awesome.

    • didibus

      Ability for the launcher app to chose the actual icon of the home button? That would be really sweet!

  • duse

    I don't see anybody mentioning or complaining about the most glaring thing with this: why the hell would you want a Google button that activates voice search front and center all the time? I almost never use "universal search", let alone voice search. You mean to tell me the most prominent button on the phone, replacing the home button today, is going to be something I almost never use? How is that good user design.

    I don't quite get how anybody calls this an improvement over today's workflow. Take a few examples:
    Launch hot seat app: Today: Home > App (2 actions), New way: Recents > App (2 actions)
    Open app from recents: Today: Recents > App (2 actions), New way: Recents > Scroll > App (3 actions)
    Open other app: Today: Home > All Apps > App (3 actions), New way: Recents > Swipe right. App (3 actions)

    So, no improvement in workflow, and sometimes worse. As always it's another case of Google changing things just for the sake of changing things instead of thinking about how to actually make things better and easier for users. They should be happy they finally have a UI that looks decent and professional with KitKat, and leave it alone and focus on the platform. Instead they want to trash it and start over. Not sure how much more patience I have for this platform.

    • The_Chlero

      To be fair, in your example of workflow, you are not counting the "swipes" in "Today's way", yet you count them int "New way".

      You wrote:
      Open app from recents: Today: Recents > App (2 actions), New way: Recents > Scroll > App (3 actions)

      What if in "Today" you recents list is like 6 or 7 apps and the app you are looking for is above all others. You will have to swipe down to reach the least recent app. Or you have to swipe to "close" the most recents apps.

      or

      Your wrote:

      Open other app: Today: Home > All Apps > App (3 actions), New way: Recents > Swipe right. App (3 actions)

      What if the app you are looking for in "Today" IS NOT in the first app drawer screen? What if the app sits in the 2nd or 3rd screen? You will have to add 2 more actions to that.

      Because of this, some times, more often, the "Today" workflow will have more actions than the "New Way" workflow. Yet, I dont like the new overhaul at all. In fact it seems much more complicated.

      • duse

        Yes, this is true, but I only didn't count extra swipes in areas where it could equally occur in both the old and new way. With your two examples:

        You might have to scroll in today's Recents screen, but not if the app you want is in the first 3-4 (very often the case). With the new way, you're almost guaranteed to have to scroll since it only shows the most recent app on top of the stack. So at worse they're even, and often the old way will only take 2 actions instead of 3.

        All Apps, same thing. You might have to scroll to a 2nd or 3rd app drawer screen, but then you'd have to with the new way as well. So again they're even.

        I can't think of any situations where the old way results in more taps/swipes. This shows that's it really hard to make a concrete argument for the new way being better in any tangible way. Some people might feel like it's better or like it just because it's new and different, but objectively, it's not saving the user time. I agree that it seems complicated and Google seems to excel at making unnecessarily complex and confusing UIs.

  • Laurențiu Selei

    Well this sucks, they screw up the launcher with those big ass icons in 4.4 this is gonna be disappointing

  • Gokh

    I want to use a Android phone, not a Google phone...

  • Marcell Lévai

    I don't like it in it's "current form". It's weird to me. Too much stuff I can pull up/down with different functionality. The app list thrown together with this card-based UI is not for me either.

  • didibus

    The changes to the notification drawer are nice. Esthetically, it's improved a lot. Functionally, it's good that they "hide" the ongoing notifications, those were annoying. Making them cards is nice too, I wonder if apps will be able to do even more with them now. Mixing some Google Now cards into is a good idea too. I approve of the new notifications.

    The changes to Recents have pros and cons. Being able to swipe left and to access a grid of all apps is nice, and would come in handy. But the new card overlay might be a bit slower to switch apps than what was on currently. If they do it like Chrome though, it's not too bad, you get a pretty good glimpse, and it could be nice. All in all, I don't mind this change too much.

    The Swipe up for Google Now is really cool. That's always how it should have been, since it's basically the same gesture. It should have always worked à la notification drawer, but at the bottom. I approve of this change too.

    The Google button is atrocious though. I never use Search on my phone, never. I even go on chrome and search there when I need to do a web search.

    My idea and what I hope they did though, is simply made it so pressing the "Home" button launches Search, and that, as you do know, it's only a matter of defaults, and you could still have it go to a home launcher app. Google might not give you a true home launcher anymore though, and this wouldn't matter, because apps are also accessible through Recents now. But if you wanted, you could change the action for Google button to instead go to Nova for example. I also expect the button to say Google only on Google Phones.

    • Crispin Swickard

      I am glad there is someone out there that does search like I do. It has always seemed silly to do it in a dedicated app when I was just searching for things on the internet in the first place, and it would just bring up the browser. it doesn't really make things easier at all.

      However the ongoing notifications thing could be a pain for those like myself that use things like power toggles. But if they would just make the quick settings more robust/customizable they wouldn't be needed, so if that is address it would be a moot point.

  • Evan Liao

    Swipes... Hiding functions under gestures can be confusing and create a steeper learning curve for new and existing users. (BlackBerry 10?) Reminds me when Duarte was talking to Verge about phasing out long-press and the menu bottom because they are not apparent.

    • Crispin Swickard

      I have been perfectly fine without the menu button, but I know seemingly hidden functions aren't always easy to pick up for people. Most people don't seem to know how to access Google Now no matter what UI they are using, and people even on iOS especially after 7 don't always know about the the Control Center, or ever how to access search after they changed how its accessed on 7.

  • Pascal

    Oh I don't want ios like shitty homescreen.

  • richardarkless

    One direction I would like Google to go would be to make the statusbar, notification shade and navigation bar part of the launcher

    This not just makes it user-changable but would mean one less thing to update through OTA updates which is always a good thing

    • Glenn Correa

      Nope. Nope. Nope.

  • http://insidebythemusic.blogspot.com.es/ matiasolalla

    I think that Sony, Samsung, LG won't Apply this for their UIs, but what about Motorola?
    They don't have TouchWiz or whatever, but they haven't have the Google Now. Launcher as well as Nexus and GPE versions have. So... will Motorola include this in their smartphones or will they stay in the stock AOSP launcher?

    What do you think?

  • Gianflavio

    i won't mind as long as they keep the app drawer and widgets. I don't need every app i have on my screen, only the most important ones. And widgets aren't just for ease-of-use but they also look good (at least the ones i use) This is android not ios.

  • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

    ...I'll just stick with KitKat, thanks.

    That notification drawer though... why not integrating the whole of Google Now into it and let Google Now live there?

    • shlk7

      I think that's the future idea.

  • DoubleP90

    I'm not convinced, I feel like I'd have a worse experience with this.
    People don't like changes.

    Anyway, I'm positive, the good thing is that even if Google makes some shitty decitions, there will always be ROMs using the UX we're all used to, so if I won't like it I can change it :)

  • David Chan

    Chromephone. You heard it here first. This is Chrome OS for phone devices. Chromephone.

  • Pierre Gardin

    Your animations are a tad too quick for me...

  • Felipe Lucena

    I would hate to see those changes become true on android, it would kill things I truly like about android and include things I hate about other systems. No app drawer and all apps on the screens? No widgets? I really hope not.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    While it looks like it might be a big confusing at first, I think I will hold off on having a "oh my god I hate this, how can Google be so evil" type opinion like most of the people here - until I actually see it explained and demoed by Google. I will however say - I absolutely love the Notifications - so much more interesting than the current ones.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108482452903817442299/posts Andrew Bone

    So this is hera? (troll face)

  • Evan

    I hope the removal of the app draw is an option. I have 2 screens of regularly used apps and widgets, plus Google Now, and I like it that way

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    webos?

  • dhruva

    ok i hate that google now is on the bottom, why cant they integrate it with notifications? and the multi tasking windows i dont like, its too big, either implement windows 8 style tablet multitasking, then im for it.

  • brian johnson

    Windows Phone, swipe upwards to get to huh omescreen scroll vertically to get to you most used apps, also it looks like an uglier version of Windows Phone

  • Dhaiwat

    "trigger Search, which would help users perform general searches or app-specific actions." Anybody else think this is borrowing from Ubuntu Touch's Unity search feature. Remembering back from the launch video I remember the exact same functionality being demonstrated.

  • Stanley Chan

    IF... This become truth, It will be in the GEL like in the Google Search.

    Then OEMS will have the choice for traditional style and this new interface...

    Maybe this will be the most wise Google choice...

    They can change things, but let people choose what they want. Ok Google?!

  • whoisjoker

    I just hope none of these are true,. Horrible UI changes. I don't see the new recent apps makeover make multitasking faster. And that notification greeting image is just too big, makes too much attention. Should havr include the home button even implying gesture or multitouch. Only thing I like is the idea of accessing Google Now anywhere in Android.

  • Math

    I don't want this.

    No widgets? An iOS style app drawer? Wtf. lol. The nice thing about having a seperate app drawer is to de-clutter the OS. On your home-page lies what you really need.

    And WTF is this new multi-tasking? I like that I can see multiple apps at the same time. What is the point of having 1 large application in the front? What is the real point of this?

    Like I don't even care about the ugly UI over-haul. But they are literally ruining the user experience, and if this is true...I am way more inclined to switch phones. This is more evidence that they should not have switched Andy Rubin with Sundar Pichai. Smh.

  • Marxist Socialist

    this looks great. i want to multi task in the worst way.

  • Tim Cook

    lol they are trying to copy ios7, they already copied the notification shade now they want to copy it all

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Shut up. Copy and pasting nonsense on every site.

    • Simon Belmont

      More like Tim Crook. You guys copied the notification shade, not Google.

      Android has had it since 1.0, dude. Try again.

  • MrWicket

    interesting and I don't think it's too far fetched.

  • http://iron2000.blogspot.com/ iron2000

    Don't like the Google logo on the navbar, severely breaks the simplicity.
    That notification drawer design wastes space, feels like less notifications in one screen.
    I still prefer the slim clock header compared to this big humanistic time-of-the-day header.

    No app drawer? No way!
    Lets go to Tizen!!
    Just joking :P

  • Oscar Garcia

    If a Googler is reading this...

    I'd just hate to use that Google button. You could put a mic icon in there and it would be obvious what it does. I like Google but that's just retarded. Also, keep the old multitasking button (because it's beautiful) and instead put a "remove all" when, and only when, it's pressed and it's showing the recent app list like in this video: http://youtu.be/HBL43tr8Gt0?t=39s

    Now that's useful. And please don't copy iOS with that cluttered drawer. Everything else is awesome.

    Sincerely, your Android fan and user, Oscar.

    P.S. Don't kill the Nexus brand and just turn GPE into Silver. Google designed phones are awesome and if you add the software experience that is rumored above then you'll have a winner and your own branded phone with your vision of Android. If someone doesn't like your phone's design then they could buy a Silver with another OEM's design. Everyone wins.

  • G0B1IN5486

    What happens to quick settings?

  • mikeym0p

    They should use the styled 'G' instead of Google.
    Condition users by putting this in the text element on all of your searchbars. When the new interface is implemented they'll have associated 'G' with Google Now and Google Now with Search.

  • KingRando

    I think widgets will be overhauled to fit into the high priority swipe down which makes everything extremely accessible, unlike today.

  • Karan Shrof Karan Shrof

    can you slow down your animation, its too fast http://www.theskysoft.com/web-data-miner.html

  • black

    It looks like a long pressing on the action bar is opening multitasking, not swiping down like the article mentions.

  • Anthony Michael Lipani

    seems like that google now page thing is going to replace the notification shade to me ... it actually might be built in to the new nexus exclusively (until cyanogen gets a hold of it) i think its cool .. i love big changes .. makes me feel like i have a new phone .. and can i say the smoothness of the animations looks phenomenal ... ios always had a step up on android when it came to animations and fluency but it looks like 4.5 might bring android right up to par

  • pb

    App grid/widget would be the biggest mistake ever made and probably would lead to the decline of Android at all if it became reality I will not hesitate to look elsewhere.
    Dont like new multitasking, what are doing Google ?! Prefer actual.
    The only positive point is the confirmation of google now... wait & see

  • http://twitter.com/jdrch jdrch

    The new developments look good to me. I think the problem Google is facing with the current home screen and app drawers is similar to the one MS faced with the classic Start menu: none of them scale well as the number of installed apps grows large.

  • giriz

    I hope this is no where near the final version. Whatever is shown above is just retarded, horrible design.... starting from multitasking, app drawer, multiple pages of notifications and looking ugly in general. I hope they put all this part of the Google launcher and I'm not forced to use it on my Nexus.

    At of kitkat, the notification center and nav bar aren't extensible through apps, hopefully they fix it in the next release so that I can continue using the notification center in kitkat.

  • FUCKNO

    NOO. NOT THE iOS STYLE APP DRAWER. FUCK NO MORE.

    That recents screen, WHY THE FUCK WILL THEY COPY iOS?

  • http://themostcoolgadgets.com/ themostcoolgadgets

    Android all over again

  • Remigiusz Nowak

    The problem is that Google Now is partially limited to English, in other countries is only semi functional. The same with Voice searching etc. Additionally the same case is with Google Play services and shopping devices.

  • Nathan J

    I think in any case we will always have Nova—or whatever aftermarket launcher you choose. And I think, the reach of stock Google is mostly limited to international users buying Nexus/GPE phones. Most phones in the United States (where Google is based) and also many phones outside the US, will have manufacturer skins that may not implement these changes. See Samsung with its hardware Home button and capacitive back and menu/recents buttons, three years after Google introduced the navigation bar. So those alarmed by the move to an iOS like system (the app grid) need not worry, it's just the default on Nexus and choice will always be yours to make.

  • Cheer Chunhao

    I think i'm going to hate the changes, revamped statusbar is good, but i dont like the whole Google Now integration. Many of the Google Now features are US only, and i dare say that Google Now has nothing much to do for me except for weather forecast, which is either sunny or raining, its not even considered useful at all to me. I never liked the Google Now Launcher and this is even worse, i don't need my whole os turned into something that is only useful of forecasting weather to me, i'd rather went with Apple this way, Google Now's feature is not yet available globally enough to force this integratin into Android, i just hate it.

  • Trysta

    Clearly I'm not the only one alarmed by this rumor.

    I get that Android is Google's OS and they can do what ever they want with it but if they turn Android into nothing more than a portal for Google now and sacrifice usability for their marketing (Google logo in nav bar instead of a home button?!) I will drop them like a hot potatoe and NEVER look back.

    If all of these changes (including the changes to the navbar and notifications) are confined to a launcher then they can experiment as they please. Otherwise I hope they proceed slowly and with extreme caution because I didn't come across a single change in this rumor that seemed like a good idea.

  • Sandeep !!

    Eliminating the App Drawer is like going into iOS path. But a better thing would be to ... eliminate the app drawer (So when a new app is installed, the app icon is directly placed in homescreen and shouldn't be delete-able unless uninstalled), allow folders in homescreen (Yes, its available even now too), allow infinite (Or no. depending on the installed apps/widgets) addition of new homescreen layouts in the Launcher. In this way widgets would be getting a place in the launcher. But even at the end of the day, this approach still looks like iOS I guess.

  • DJ Ojeda

    Everything else looks great I just hope they don't take away the app drawer 😢

  • TheLastAngel

    I don't like any of this. After force feeding us Google+ they now try to do the same with Google Now.

    I tried Google Now. I have concluded that I don't need any of its recommendations. Ever.

    I know what I want. I have nice widgets for calendar, weather and communication.

    I like Android in its current form, the home screen, multitasking and notification shade serve me perfectly.

    Google have a good thing going. Why can't they just leave it alone and iterate on it?

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    I hope people realize, this may take ads to a new level. It's not clear to me yet, but i see it.
    (for both devs and google)

    I guess Google Now is a giant Ad itself, but i see it evolving. The weather isn't the first thing i see anymore, it's an album or recently released movies. Maybe a quick link to play a game, so devs get their Ad Rev too.

  • godutch

    Please no app grid, I hate that, it looks so messy. I like (an) empty home screen(s) with just a few often used things there

    • Humberto Hernandez

      Pfss, we have custom launchers, why you so worried? Install apex, nova, next, go, apx, etc....

      • pfmiller

        I thought none of the custom launchers could support Google now? Can you still access it somehow with them?

        • Humberto Hernandez

          Just swipe up for google now, it's been there since always.

          The GEL launcher in the other hand, has it swiping left in the homescreen.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dsilinski Darren

    I don't understand why Google just doesn't make Google Now part of the notification shade itself. Notifications could be displayed at the top, but below that the Google Now cards would remain. A good way to get people using Google Now all the time.

  • Krands

    What if the grid is to give the user a fast access to certain apps without making the user go to the homescreen ?

  • BassPlayer

    Hmmm. Looks like Google wants to emulate Win 8. I hope that they are smart enough to allow you to choose. Personally I like the app drawer. The last thing I want is a desktop full of icons. It's one of many things I don't like about the iPhone.

  • AS

    I don't see the app drawer as being missing, it just looks to have moved to be a swipe from the multitasking view. Makes sense to me.

    The animation never shows the home screens, just navigation from within applications.

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  • Jack

    Users are going to be inadvertently pressing that Google button all the time due to it's placement and size. Not good. I generally don't even open Google Now. If I want to do an internet search, I type it in the browser address bar, which is going to take me to Google anyhow.

  • deltatux

    Looks like a cross of Android, iOS, BB10 and Sailfish....

  • Flip Jumpman

    I do not want rows and rows of icons. No widgets, then no way!

  • q

    " eliminating the app drawer"

    NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    i think this will be in the google now launcher but the default AOSP launcher will remained the same.....as only a very small subset of android users are using Google Now Launcher OFFICIALLY (only nexus and play edition devices which is admittedly a really small group), i don't think widgets will be gone.

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  • Cyber Akuma

    Personally, I don't see the point of a multitask button. Previous phones I used which supported it just had you hold the back button for that. I kinda miss the menu/settings button, it was like having a right-click for your mouse.

    (Also, after what happened in KitKat with SDcard access, I am really worried what else they will do in the next version of Android)