11
Jun
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There have been a lot of leaks and rumors leading up to Google I/O this year. From Gmail to your Android device's home screen, nothing has been spared. Through all of this, we've seen some really interesting and non-traditional Android app designs, with matching web counterparts, that have made readers rightfully question their validity, and Google's design direction.

We've received new information related to what appears to be a new design paradigm for all Google's products across all platforms that should help explain what we've been seeing - say hello to Quantum Paper.

image

Right off the bat, it seems necessary to clear up that Quantum is the new design direction we've seen in recent leaks, including our post on Project Hera. It's also worth reiterating that Quantum is not Hera. Hera itself is not about design, it's about the unification of Chrome and Search on Android, where search tasks would create entries in your recents menu. It just so happened that our images (based on what we had been given) had elements from the Quantum design approach. That having been cleared up, I should also point out that we aren't treating this leak as one of our normal rumors. Like the Nearby rumor, we are confident enough that this is coming, and have seen enough information to move forward in presenting what we know confidently. That being said, there is always at least some chance that things could change before release.

What is Quantum Paper?

image

Quantum Paper is the overarching name for a new, unified design framework intended to make experiences consistent across all platforms. According to information available to us, it represents Google's effort to both create (with Google apps) and encourage consistent, beautiful design that delights across all platforms. Quantum Paper is a hugely ambitious project, looking to unify and codify paradigms for visual, motion, and interaction design across all platforms, including web, Android, and iOS.

Before we can understand the big picture though, we should look at Polymer.

Polymer

Polymer, more than anything else, gives us a really good look at some of the things Quantum can do. The project has been progressing at polymer-project.org for some time now, and it was shown off during the keynote at last year's Google I/O. Essentially, it's a toolkit for designing responsive websites using predefined yet customizable building blocks, like the header above. Take a look at this snippet from last year's keynote.

h/t Vinicius Low for pointing out this video

Polymer, then, is an open-source extension of Web Components. Google wants "this elegant UI framework that works across all form factors, all devices." Watching the proceeding video shown on stage, we can see a lot of familiar objects, from the header and search UI to things like the new camera icon, which already appears in Google Camera.

image image

What's even better about Polymer is that users can play around with its various bits and pieces already, with a designer tool available through the official Polymer site. Speaking of the Polymer site, it's made using Polymer. Scale it down and you'll notice that it too adopts the same header building block as we're seeing above.

image

The goal with Polymer is ostensibly to let developers use a predefined framework that not only comes in handy for Google's own products, but which allows third parties to create consistent, responsive, "delightful" web apps.

Back to Quantum

Having had a quick refresher, let's turn back to some of the recent Android-centered leaks. Let's review a few screenshots we've seen. The screens below are courtesy of Geek.com.

nexusae0_Screenshot____ nexusae0_2014-03-26-1

Time

There are many things going on here. The first thing many readers noticed about the shots above (and our own mockups in our coverage of Hera) is the exposed hamburger icon. Replacing the embedded rectangles that previously represented the presence of a navigation drawer, these shots show the three rectangles out in the open. This matches what we've seen in Polymer.

We also see some new iconography, much of it matching the symbols shown briefly at I/O 2013 (above), and some of which are already present in Polymer's designer tool. Then there are new interaction elements. The most obvious of these are the new toggle switch, the search icon, the "new content" button, and the "cluster" icon.

search pin newcontent cluster

Above: Search icon seen in Google+ and Gmail leak, pin toggle from Gmail leak, "new content" button from Gmail and calendar leaks, "cluster" icon from calendar leak

We've already seen the new search icon and new content icon in the radical overhaul of Google+, which itself is our first look at the Quantum approach on Android. The bright red header bar and new iconography represent the Quantum touches appropriate for the Google+ app. The good news is that, while Google+ lacks a hamburger menu, the UI element itself doesn't appear to be going anywhere - the new exposed hamburger icon still represents the presence of a navigation drawer.

GoogleKit

While Quantum is Android's arm of the Quantum Paper framework, GoogleKit will be the framework for iOS apps, according to our information. It isn't clear whether Google will be encouraging third-party developers to use this framework for iOS development, but it is clear that Google will be making an effort to use these paradigms and guidelines with their own products.

When can we see it?

According to the information available to us, the public will first (officially) see and hear about the Quantum framework for Android when Android's L release debuts. This is planned to be "the first instance of Quantum on Android," and will be open for third-party developers to use.

Along with this release, we have reason to expect a new set of guidelines called - appropriately - the Quantum Paper Spec, which will explain the overall approach and best uses for the design elements available.

While we can't say when the L release might hit, the information available to us does indicate that Quantum on Android is expected to be rolled out in iterations through Google products throughout the time leading up to release. Google+ is the first step, with other apps to eventually join. All apps and websites are expected to be updated in concurrence with the official debut of Quantum Paper with Android L, with refinement to follow.

Final Thoughts

Our new information surrounding Quantum is refreshing. There has been a lot of confusion over the past months about interface leaks and updates, with many questioning why Google isn't remaining consistent and resolute in its design guidelines for Android.

Having seen Quantum Paper, however, it is clear that not only is Google looking to be more consistent in Android design, but they are planning to provide all the pieces necessary to third party developers, and make this new interface approach consistent not just on its mobile operating system but across its web properties and perhaps more interestingly, iOS as well.

The potential here is large. You wouldn't be mistaken to think of Quantum as a sort of broad-sweep replacement for Holo, but it's even more powerful than that. The framework will include interface, motion, and interaction (as stated before) on all platforms, making for not just clearer and more consistent UI but also a more consistent user experience.

Yes, there will be pain points as developers consider and adapt their apps to this framework, but having this range of tools and guidelines available should make the process of designing new interactions and apps much simpler for those working on any platform. Here's looking forward to an official introduction to Quantum Paper.

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.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    First!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      You're fired.

      • SSDROiD

        HAHAHAHAHA

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        Damn!

        Wait, hang on, I've just unfired myself. Your move, Summerson.

        • Mert Çelen

          Looks like he used boss bonus :D

          • Linda Johnson

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            ❤❤❤� ❤❤❤ ❤❤❤ ❤❤�❤ ❤❤❤

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

          You win this round, Russakovskii.

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Oh no, who's gonna become the head of AP now?

    • infogulch

      Suck it, first-ers! You can never again get first post when the author takes it before it's even *published*.

      • usaff22

        Lol I was actually here first but didn't comment, Artem's post wasn't here. He submitted his comment after the article was published :)

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I wasn't the author.

        • infogulch

          You still have insider information.

    • Bluewall

      God damn it Artem you had one job !

    • Kylecore

      I shout this out every time i get laid

  • SVem26

    So long Hamburger.. You'll be missed..

    • SSDROiD

      What do you mean? Left-side navigation menus are still present in this? At least from the screenshots? What am I missing?

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        They are. They look a little different but they are there.

        • Amarus Kh

          He obviously meant to say:
          So long hamburger, hello cheeseburger.

          • WORPspeed

            I think QUAntum calls for QUArterpounders

      • SVem26

        But its not the same anymore.. :(

        I know Google devs have thought this through and have only changed it for the better.. But this looks like something from iOS.. ( I guess that's the point.. Consistency.. Smh)

        • raazman

          Don't be sad

        • Dennis Ulijn

          No, but think of it like this: when using this website on a big monitor of, say, 1920 pixels wide, why should the navigation icon still be half tucked away? This solution is also better for creating a more evenly spaced action bar. iOSsy would be if they made the line 1dp high.

          • Crispin Swickard

            Well part of what is covered was that the elements can dynamically change depend on the screen size, so on a higher resolution it may not even have a hamburger involved. Unless on a mobile device, and they will probably force it.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            The hamburger menu as a whole, in my opinion, is kind of difficult. The exposed icon is better, but it still doesn't QUITE convey "hey there's a menu under here" explicitly to a new user. It's only understood through discovery. But you're right, particularly on a larger display, this icon is better.

        • Crispin Swickard

          SMH? Smell my hamburger(Menu)?

          I did look up what SMH was since I was not familiar with it.

    • br_hermon

      Umm.... "while Google+ lacks a hamburger menu, the UI element itself doesn't appear to be going anywhere"

  • Vito Lee

    The cluster icon is already being used I think. It's not colored but in the G+ app, you can see it used to expand and contract the list of communities and your circles.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Ah, you're right! Good catch.

  • joeljfischer

    I.... am going to reserve judgement for the full reveal.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This here is a wise man. Listen to him.

      • Simon Belmont

        Yeah. I guess I always hoped that that should be implied. Sadly, it is not. Complain (or lavish with accolades) after something is real and in the wild.

        EDIT: Haha, I'm getting downvoted because I think things should be judged when they're real and released to the public and not just pre-release concepts and ideas (OKAY)?

    • MrSean490

      True but it is my knee-jerk opinion that one size does not fit all. I draw an example from Windows 8's Metro.

      We'll see what happens here.

      • David Cesarino

        My bet on top of Quantum bet is: this will only be the unification of web and Android visually, to the user, so that he can use any service no matter which platform he is on. The framework, however, won't. The programmer will still have to deal with separate development platforms.

        The problem with Microsoft is that they tried to shove down users throats *exactly* the same look, behavior and composition. You can reuse the same visual cues and elements without the need for them to be composed exactly the same everywhere, for example. You can have the same "ActionBar", the "hamburguer menu" that opens a familiar "Navigation Drawer" that presents the menu options for your app (or web app) displayed in a familiar font, using familiar colors for disabled and enabled states etc. It all looks the same, and each component behave the same.

        However, the composition, the arrangement, is not exactly the same. For example, in desktops you almost never need auto hiding elements. Navigation drawer or section panels (top level menu choices) may be permanently exposed. On the phone, they are hidden in the nav drawer or be presented in different screens.

        Compare to choices Microsoft made: endless horizontal scrolling and huge and less buttons on toolbars that hide themselves in Metro interfaces (Internet Explorer) on desktop. Again, you could look the same without having to be composed in the screen exactly the same: toolbar didn't need to hide itself, buttons could be smaller and the interface could be more complex. It would look the same, elements would behave the same individually, but their COMPOSITION as a whole, in the screen, could be more tailored to desktop machines (devices with more screen area and information density). Smaller sizes, different paddings and so on.

        Their problem isn't Metro. It how they (didn't) tailored the Metro concepts and individual elements to each device in which it is used.

        Android developers had a huge head start because we had to deal with everything and anything from 3" phones to 12" convertibles. And you can only guess the amount of usage statistics Google gathered during this time (Google "Agile UX Research Practice in Android").

        At least that's how I see it.

      • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

        Quantum isn't an actual UI it's a collection of UI components. The problem with Windows 8 is they used the same UI on desktop and tablet, but here we're talking more about using the same appearance for a drop down list etc.

        The whole point of responsive design is that you can adjust the interface to make it appropriate for whatever device/screen it's being used on. This has nothing to do with the framework being used and everything to do with the actual developers who are using it.

  • Bluewall

    The Gmail screenshot we have here doesn't look *bad*. It just seems to lack a bit of "soul" or something, isn't it ?

    • Zombie

      That's what I thought, too. It lacks a "soul", really. Too anonymous.

      • Bluewall

        If feels like "Design 101" class exemple

        • niuguy

          I have faith in Google's design team. They've been killing it recently.

  • Simon Belmont

    YOLO HOLO. YANTUM QUANTUM?

    Either way, it looks nice and clean and I can't wait for some better consistency in Android's design framework. Hoping we see this implemented at I/O.

  • Jasper van de Klundert

    Isn't the Google Music extension made with the same look and feel?

    • Simon Belmont

      Google Keep has that bright yellow bar, too. All they'd really have to do is change the hamburger menu icon to Quantum's and remove an overflow menu.

      I like Quantum from what I've seen so far. Looks nice.

      • Jasper van de Klundert

        I like it too. It's much more sleeker than it was before.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Absolutely hideous. I am not gonna believe that next major release will look even remotely like this. I understand that Google strives to unify the experience across platforms, but not by throwing its own OS guidelines in the trash bin.

    Also, consistency? Across Google products? Are you mad? Lol, I think that Gabe Newell will release half life 3 sooner than Google makes the UIs in their products and apps consistent

    • Stylus_XL

      Google's apps are way closer to be being visually and functionally consistent now than they were two years ago. Some people just hate change.

    • Ambroos

      These might just become the new guidelines. Holo has been due for a major overhaul for a while now.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      We will see once the L release rolls around.
      And remember, Google made the guidelines, they can change, improve, add to, or even destroy them if they want. If they do a little surgery on the current guidelines to make way for this new framework, I don't see a problem.

      • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

        “Little surgery?” It looks like a whole new different OS.

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          I'm not so sure about that. It feels very familiar to me. Action bars, navigation drawers, overflows, and cards are all accounted for. There are some new interaction paradigms but on the whole I think this framework will give a face-lift to the Android we already know and love, and provide a way to easily make experiences more consistent, which is a huge plus.

      • Roger Siegenthaler

        No google did not make the guidelines, the android team did... keep in mind google officially has a "firewall" between those two teams and google should not be getting any design tips from the android team before they are released to the public.

        I think this will just be google's design language, maybe in their own launcher and the "Google experience" but android's design will remain the same.

        • Phil Oakley

          Looking at this and stuff we've seen in the past, the firewall has gone now.

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            Well in that case google can buckle-up for a huge law suit...

    • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

      Google has officially lost all my interest in them. I’m getting an iPhone.

      • Dwain Cordell

        No, please, wait... Just think about the children!

      • De5str0yer.

        (...) ?

  • Kaemo

    So... Goodbye Holo, hello Quantum?

    • raazman

      :'(

    • Gokh

      #QUANTUMYOLO
      That doesn't sound as good :/

      • Fadakar

        However #PRAISEDUARTUM isn't too bad.

        • Simon Belmont

          Hmm. Maybe #YOLOQOLO.

          The Yantum Quantum I thought of above sounds like a Russian search engine. Haha.

          • mustbepbs

            Y'antsum Quantums?

      • WORPspeed

        We'll shorten it to Q pronounced and written on the internet (because nothing on the internet is written correctly) as QEW
        I introduce you to:
        #QEWPEW

  • Adam B.

    God dammit... APK anyone ?

    • Segroukin

      Really?

      • Adam B.

        /s

  • abobobilly

    I have supported Google's ideas for far too long now, but now i just don't share their sentiments. They have been making a cluster f*ck of apps these days and messing up their own work in a marvelous way. Apps have been IMMENSELY inconsistent across the Android universe where updates are PAINFULLY slow and take AGES to come out.

    We have reached 2014 and phones are still being treated as toys, and this just looks like a bloody iOS look-alike. Too cartoonish. But ofcourse, final judgement until actual product is seen. But FYI, i have stopping giving a f*ck about you Google.

    P.S. The new Google Plus app is a HIDEOUS FUCKING PIECE IS SHIT.

    • Simon Belmont

      It's not even out yet. Just shut up.

      Please. Seriously.

      • abobobilly

        Actually its a good thing. I wouldn't want this to come out anyway.

        • Simon Belmont

          You wouldn't want something that's not official to come out? As in something that's not concretely finished in anyway, way, shape or form, thus you have no idea what the final product is like?

          Okay. Sure.

          • abobobilly

            Whatever. The current Google plus app would be a fairly decent example of where Google is going. Despite my reservation of judgment, i hardly care about this.

      • raazman

        Abobobilly is having a fit without on something not even released. Wow.

        • abobobilly

          If you have failed to notice, i am babbling about the "inconsistent approach of google in past couple of years".

          Maybe you guys need some sense to think beyond whats being written? IDIOTS.

          • raazman

            And it appears to seem that Google wants to make Android consistent now. Duarte also commented saying that Android is nowhere near how he wants to see it.

            Stop throwing insults behind your monitor and grow up. Let's be civilized.

          • abobobilly

            You are right. Lets. So stop stomping on my feet and wait for some other news instead of going bonkers on my sentiments.

          • raazman

            You can have your feet, thank you very much!

          • elvisgp

            You seem to be a little hypocritical there. You went bonkers over a leak of a new design language; something that isn't even released yet.

          • abobobilly

            So you are implying that Android Police's leaks don't hold any value? Nigga Plss

          • elvisgp

            Nope, not at all. It's just not official. When Google announces it, then by all means, run outside and scream to the world your pain and anguishes about Quantum Paper. But for right now, don't make a big deal about it and then be a hypocrite.

          • Simon Belmont

            That's really all that I was getting, too. He's free to hate it.

            By don't judge until it's a complete vision. The Google+ isn't that.

          • abobobilly

            My main gripes with the new Google Plus app is:
            1) It was a brilliant design for a social network app. I used to make THAT as an example to call out on other apps like elhedious-FB and elstupid-Twitter.
            2) It was consistent with Android's design guidelines, and probably the best performing app i have ever seen on Android (runs so fluid with low end devices)

            I am all open to change. But now that i have seen how Google is trying for a change, i don't feel confident about it. Thats all about it.

          • Simon Belmont

            Good. I like to see what you have to say when you have empirical reasons for it.

            It's much easier to discuss calmly in that light. Cheers.

          • abobobilly

            You should've seen my outburst when i saw the new G+ app. Almost went bonkers over the level of F-up.

            Still, could be worse.

          • Simon Belmont

            Yeah. But the design that was shown in this article is what's causing you to babble.

            So, the real catalyst is where Google is headed as indicated above. At least that's how I see it.

      • ocdtrekkie

        The new Google+ app is out. And it's pretty freaking hideous.

  • ocdtrekkie

    It's just so dang ugly.

    • raazman

      Let us trust Matias!

      • ocdtrekkie

        Or, can we please, finally, for the love of all that is good, fire Duarte's rear?

        • raazman

          How dare you?! In all seriousness, I'll wait till I/O to make my judgement.

          • ocdtrekkie

            Yes, I get it, I'm blaspheming against your god, by indicating Google is not perfect, and that they make bad decisions.

  • http://twitter.com/Rodrigost23 Rodrigo Tavares

    It's not that ugly, only the Action Bar seems too thick and the hamburger icon looks... actually ugly.

    • abobobilly

      iOS inspiration bro.

      • DefinitelyAbsolute

        Its actually Windows Phone imitation? IOS copied Windows Phone too, they are all Flat now, WP started it not iOS.

  • SVem26

    Just opened Keep after reading this article to realise it already does this..

    • Simon Belmont

      Yes sir. As I said below.

      It's another good example of the direction this is headed. I, for one, like it.

    • abobobilly

      Actually i like the current design of Keep, and i like how Google have chosen specific colors for specific apps. The current Keep app not only looks nice, but functions well as well. I don't feel the same about what i am seeing above. Just don't like those three lines hanging all out, for hamburger.

      • SVem26

        This is the web app.. Looks decent.. but the android app is far superior than any other google app.. the animations and the colors make it so pleasing to use..

        • abobobilly

          EXACTLY. And don't you think in an effort to "unify" the experience, they might ruin it? Have a look at the new Google Plus app and you'll see what i am talking about. I dread to think who chose that design.

          • SVem26

            That is a total mess.. A step backwards IMO.. I uninstalled the update but that took away auto awesome stories too..

    • David Stephenson

      And the Keep chrome app has exactly the same behavior. This is a change I can totally get behind.

  • elvisgp

    I like it and think it looks great.

  • br_hermon

    So this explain's Ron Amadeo's point about the thicker hamburger icon in the I/O app? https://plus.google.com/104025431341062052230/posts/Ueu2R7SwXPN

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I think the I/O app just happens to have a weird hamburger menu. It may be a transitional style, but who can say.

  • Justin Foster

    I'm gonna be the troll today: When can we expect the AP site in Polymer style? :D

    xD

    • Simon Belmont

      When Artem buys stock in DuPont. They have plenty of polymers (and MONOmers).

      Yeah, that was a terrible joke. Let me just get my hat and I'll leave.

  • lulzor

    Anyone else agree on that this looks awesome, except we don't need an actionbar with such height? It has like 3x the size of it's title, and makes the bar look empty.

    • Simon Belmont

      Ha. Such height. Much vertical pixels. Whoa.

      See: http://dogr.io/doge.png .

      • lulzer

        We meet again, Simon. You post Doge, I shall post our hero again.

  • David Margolin

    All hail QOLO

  • h4m

    #QUANTUMYOLO

  • Egon Ruuda

    1:25:30 No you moron! We did not want to join google plus or love it, you got those user ONLY by forcing GMail and YouTube users into that garbage. And i hope Google minus fails horribly.

    • lulzer

      I couldn't agree more. Forcing people to move to Google+ is by far the worst mistake Google has ever made (well, and closing Reader)

    • Simon Belmont

      Seems like it's already being downscaled. I don't even think it's going to be widely mentioned in Google I/O that's happening in two weeks.

      Last year was BIG on G+. Not this year.

    • Marcell Lévai

      So much butthurt

    • Pigis

      Honestly is it really costing you something by having gplus? It's FREE

      • Egon Ruuda

        It is costing freedom as people use it without signing up for it. Does a millitary dictatorship cost you anything if you do not pay for it? OFCOURSE it does!

  • Abdella Ali

    So from what I gather, this is going to be a big push by Google to create a set of tools to allow devs to easily design applications across Android, iOS and the Web concurrently. I say concurrently because of 'Quantum' - I assume that name isn't an accident, and they are playing off Quantum Entanglement.

    Looking at Polymer/Angular - both under Google's belts - a web component based framework does not seem crazy. Considering I work with Cordova and the like at work to make applications for as many platforms as possible, I understand the need for this and I really hope I am right.

  • The_Chlero

    The sad true is that there's no such thing called "Google guidelines". Google ONLY recommends, but do not enforces to developers follows those desings.

    In fact, the "openess" of the platform is its weak spot. Take into example Twitter. Since 5 or 6 months ago, Twitter app only changelog is "This update includes many improvements and bug fixes" . For Lord's sake, that's a pathetic response from a well respected app.

    Or lets take as example the Google Play framework. Take Google Play and the lack of support from developers to integrate Trophies/Cloud Save/Multiplayer. Just a handful of developers choose to integrate those in their apps. I dont see Candy Crush, Trivia Crack, Pou, and many other within top 50 games in the Play Store to deploy those Play Game features into their games. Because Google dont enforce them.

    Sadly for many, Apple has the very upper hand (by far) in this. They force developers to follow their guidelines and the result is that the UI feels fluid, consistent and coherent. Google feels inconsistent at best. Even Google apps dont follow the same guidelines take a peek at Google Calendar vs Youtube vs Maps vs Hangouts. All of them have settings and UI designs (not about functionality) in very different places that almost look like the are developed by very different companies split around the world.

    I admire Apple for this, for having the balls of doing this. Google needs to do this ASAP. Forcing guidelines and IU desings to developers doesnt means losing the "Android openess", these are 2 very different things.

    I have had moments where I'm willing to switch to iPhone just because the better tight on app certification and regulations. Just compare Facebook or Twitter on iPhone and Android. The same app, on Android they are just buggy and inconsistent on iPhone they are fluid and seamless (even the web links are opened in the same app)

    • http://www.gundamaustralia.com/ cameron charles

      that's just one side of the coin, there's a myriad of reasons why not having an overlord dictate how to do things is also a great thing

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      It's completely unrealistic to think that Google could or would "force" UI guidelines, or more impossible still, Play Services backends on developers and their apps. To do so would be entirely counterproductive, and wouldn't inspire much positive developer sentiment.

      The other issue is that not every app should follow the straight-and-narrow with the design guidelines, and not every app should have the exact same experience. Many new functionalities and UI paradigms have arisen from apps that don't follow guidelines, that mold the experience around the specific thing they want to accomplish.

      The purpose of a framework like this would be to make it as easy as possible to follow best practices for interface, motion, and experience design, without dictating what has to be used. This, in my mind, is the closest thing to a perfect solution as can exist - the easier it is, the more likely people are to pick it up and implement it. It's a great shot at getting some consistency while still allowing for open, malleable design and functionality.

  • Guest

    Isn't this the design language already in-use by the new G+ app? IMO it's definitely not completely Holo (not that it was before), but it seems much closer to this than Holo.

  • b0b

    #HOLOMUSTDIE
    #GOODBYEHOLO
    #DUARTE4LIFE

  • Bojan Tomic

    If Google makes these updates of apps available only on "L"+... I'm going to strangle them all individually slowly one by one.

    Oh and I think that the hamburger icon would look better white. :)

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      The L release is expected to be when the new framework is introduced, and when third party developers can start reading about/using it. The actual UI changes wouldn't be limited by OS version.

      • Bojan Tomic

        Thank God. :) I'm afraid because of Google Camera being available only on KitKat.. :S

    • http://ignaciozippy.com/ Ignacio Zippy

      I'd be thankful. I'm staying on 4.4.3 until getting an iPhone.

  • Blackberry Rules

    that looks ugly they should learn something from apple's ui

  • CyberPunk

    I swear to God I've been researching this topic this morning to post on the I/O app article. And now I saw this here. It just makes sense. Search online for Eric Bidelman's past work (He's going to present on this I/O on "Polymer and Web Components"). He's also the guy behind html5rocks.com. Watch this window scaling of a Google Now weather card on html5rocks.com: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/layouts/rwd-fundamentals

    You can also go back as far as Google I/O 2011 to see the early plan of this happening.
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/T4EBIfy.png[/img]

    Reto Meier (who's going to do the Android fireside chat this I/O) says something right after this slide that reminded me of Matias Duarte's words from that last interview with Josh Topolsky, you know, "Mobile is dead!". Meier said "You can just build one app and it's gonna run all across all platforms... it's kind of a no brainer." He also says that all of us have actually been using an app that uses this web+native JavaScript hybrid, which is the Maps app.
    How is that interesting? It was (and maybe first) used on the iOS version of the Maps app.

    Here's an interesting diagram, it's not even new. This is from a year ago:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rPbEdmEpHWA/UeW4Xqmg0oI/AAAAAAAAAx0/33O2gWoYMgI/s1600/polymer-architecture.jpg

    From the website:

    platform.js: The red parts are shims [2] for upcoming APIs. These shims will be used by most frameworks in the future and eventually be replaced by native APIs.

    polymer.js: The yellow parts express a taste in
    frameworks – how the foundational APIs should be combined. It is but one
    of many ways of doing so.

    The green parts are Polymer elements, web components built on top of polymer.js. Not all elements display something on screen. For example, the element polymer-ajax. The Polymer documentation
    lists all elements that are currently available. The plan for Polymer
    UI elements is to make Google’s design skills (as, e.g., demonstrated by
    the Maps app on Android and iOS) readily available on the web.

    I think we might need Cody Toomb to go through this and explains to us all:
    http://www.2ality.com/2013/07/hello-polymer.html

    Polymer in action last year! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irGDN5Ysi_A&t=15m7s

    • mustbepbs

      tl;dr

      I give you a B- for pictures and video, though. It held my attention until I realized there weren't boobs on the other side of the link.

    • Abdella Ali

      I really am interested in this, and I've seen rumblings here and there for a few months - but nothing substantial. This article also kind of started to give me more hope though. I do wonder what sort of scope Google is looking at here - are we talking something like Cordova, or is this going to be more like a strictly UI framework? My heart is hoping for the former.

  • User

    Does anyone else think they should add a translucent status bar too, I mean why do they even have it if they don't use it themselves?

    • miri

      It wasn't meant to be used like that and they've even recommended that devs don't do that.

      • Crispin Swickard

        It looks so nice when done correctly though. :(

        • miri

          Example?

          • Crispin Swickard
          • miri

            I had a feeling you were going to show Pushbullet. The unnecessary visibility guard (testament to it not being intended for that use) looks quite hideous and that's a prime example of how NOT to use system UI transparency.

          • Crispin Swickard

            I fail to see how it is incorrect as it causes no visibility/usability issues to the user. Also this applies to other Apps like Talon/Evolve SMS. Since there are so few apps that use it at all i would be curious to what you would feel is correct use of transparency, but as you are for no apparent reason attacking me on 2 different posts for no apparent reason I don't care for one.

          • Björn Lundén

            It's not an attack on you (I think), though It could've been phrased in a nicer way perhaps. Google (or at least Android developers/designers) have said that the use you describe is not how it was supposed to be used. Unfortunately I don't remember exactly where that was though, likely on Google+.

            I agree with miri here, Pushbullet's use of it really adds nothing in my opinion other than making it look more like clone of iOS. It works decently in Talon and Evolve SMS with the light theme, though I'm sure it looks great with the dark theme.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            I think the appropriate use would be to transition to translucent bars in views where it's appropriate, like pages with hero images (as in the Play Store) or purely scrolling content.
            The issue with using it in apps that have persistent action bars is that, despite using background protection, the white icons kind of blend into the fabric of the action bar. We all know that they are a separately standing element, part of the status bar, but visually it becomes confusing, and (in my opinion) there's not enough distinction between the status and action bars, which is a bad experience.
            Those are just my thoughts, though.

          • Crispin Swickard

            I can understand that, and when it is on a purely white background the translucent status bar it can be hard to pick out the elements in the status bar. That's why I have the option set on Nova to draw it darker. When apps have something other than white at the top like Push Bullet, and such it looks quite fine. If the translucency was a bit less in the future it wouldn't cause as many usability issues as it does on some things.

          • Kevin

            How about this?

  • NF

    Android Licorice for I/O confirmed? I mean, they'd probably show this progress at the conference, and that's a good place to get developer interest. Then, to show off a demo, new Android!
    Though this has been a long term project. Mozilla has been working on a similar implementation. It looks like web and native code are blurring which is exciting.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      At my most optimistic, I'd expect a preview of this or a taste of it at IO, but I'm not counting on the L release being present just yet.

      • Crispin Swickard

        I think I would be decently happy with the Apple approach of a formal announcement, and then the release (with an expected release date) later. Also going to 1 major update a year as been expected would be fine also. This would solve a couple problems of the past with one go.

      • Larizard

        I'd imagine a full-blown announcement of Android L around October. And about the same time as the new iPhone. I think it's Google's plan to stop playing the "OS wars" with Apple and stop competing though hardware. I feel like this year, Google is not announcing any new Nexus, but instead, it'll focus more on the software and the platform. Quantum is a monumental goal, and with Hera, the distinction between native and web apps will slowly blur.

        Just like Matias declared: "Mobile is dead."
        It will be one experience, everywhere.

  • http://www.gundamaustralia.com/ cameron charles

    this is personal opinion of course but so many people are comparing this to ios and writing it off, i use both pretty much daily for dev work and i cant stand the aesthetics of ios7+, but i love the look of this so far, they are similar in that apple now uses white everything with flat icons and this is using those things even more then holo did, maybe its the hideous transparency in ios or something but if quantum becomes the norm ill have no problems implementing it

  • zmr333

    I miss #holoyolo :(

  • Matthew Fry

    So Google is not going to release the design guidelines until the rest of the Google apps have been converted? I dread that thought. It'll take years. Google+, Keep, Books, Newstand ,Docs, Sheets, Games, Music, and Chromecast have the colored bar. Google+ is the only one with the circular floaty button. Device Manager has translucent panels, maps has a disconnected colorless bar, a square floaty button, and the weird tab in the bottom left. Newstand has a tab interface underneath. Youtube, Drive, Gmail, Photos, Quickoffice, Rewards, and Wallet are in grey bar land with search in random places with and without buttons with and without hamburger, with and without overflow. Hangouts is a complete mess.

  • DeadSOL

    Everyone; Keep calm and trust Matias!

  • Wesley Modderkolk

    So with this, we can expect every app that uses this to look completely different every few months, just like Google's own apps? Great.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I'm not sure what you mean. I don't think anything about this indicates that apps built with these elements would change frequently. In fact, Google's own apps don't get UI overhauls every few months either.

      • Wesley Modderkolk

        Google tend to revamp their app layouts quite often. Maybe not every few months, but it isn't like they are doing years with a same layout either.

        My "concern" is that this same thing would happen to other apps also who would use this.

        A great importance in the use and familiarity with an app/product is consistency in design. And to my opinion, this is something that Google's apps have been lacking, and I fear the same for other apps.

  • CheCorchete

    I hope they add inmersive mode too

    • Kevin

      God no.

  • RichHomieGuan

    for this year's I/O I hope to see a Nexus 8 in the quality and dimensions of an iPad Mini; Android 5.0 massive overhaul as we all know it's never perfect which is a good thing; Android Wear; lastly my most wanted hope to be answered is bringing Chrome OS to the public for people like me who's on Win8 to just flash it on my laptop like a ROM please!!! of course all of the above have been rumored and leaked a lot but I REALLY WANNA SEE them to be real please Google!!!

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      I don't think we'll be seeing a new Nexus or a full-number update to Android at I/O, but it should be exciting nonetheless.

      • RichHomieGuan

        I know it's just all wishful thinking :( but seriously does AP know anything about Google ever releasing Chrome OS to the general public without buying a Chromebook? And yes as I/O inches closer, Android Silver is seeming more and more realistic

  • fzammetti

    I sometimes argue with myself about whether Google's approach is better than Apple's in the sense that Apple tends to stick to a design aesthetic for way longer than Google ever does and that gives them an overall appearance of greater stability and consistency... I mean, iOS looked, to a large degree, the same up until iOS7 as it did from day one, whereas it seems like Google has a new design guideline with every major release. I mean, I'm a typical borderline ADD American, so the frequent change is fun in one way... but sometimes it gives me an uneasy feeling like Google doesn't actually know what the hell they're doing in terms of UI design, like they just keep changing their minds trying to find what's going to stick... hey, I get it: iterative design is a good thing... but sometimes I think they may be (or already have) crossed a line into looking a bit foolish territory.

  • Colin Richardson

    Oh, so the new screen wasting design going on in Google+ is now the "Guide".. oh dear lord.. I thought someone had just done something wrong.

  • Toinou

    This is a joke. Google is a fucking joke. When ICS was born they spent their entire time harassing the developers so that their apps would match the new guidelines, then they changed the guidelines before and with KitKat, and now they're changing them again. Google can't figure out what to do, they can't decide on guidelines and stick to them. What a shame. Don't bother pushing the updates to my devices, Google; I won't apply them.

    • MindFever

      Yes,that will show 'em ... I swear more android users act more and more like spoiled brats. If you ask me a good company doesn't give all users what they want...they make stuff that is for the overa good of the user experience.

      Stop updating if it makes you feel any better . Because in Android you can't change the layouts right ?

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    What I don't understand is that red "new item" button. Since it is flowing, it will always be on top of other things, which can be visually annoying. It could also be annoying in the sense that if you miss it you'll probably click on the element behind it, which could take you to a whole different screen. Besides, there is so much empty space on that bar up top... Why not put it there?

    I don't know if this holds up, I don't use the G+ mobile app so much, but... Maybe this is a non-issue to be concerned with.

  • dlegr250

    I agree with some of the others' concerns about Google wasting a lot of space. However, if you check out the calendar app pics above, you see they condense quite a bit and remove that nasty 2nd line currently found in G+. The calendar pictured above really uses all the space you can possibly use without wasting any. That would be a much better design.

    None of this is 100% confirmed yet, so I'll hold judgment until they release the product. But as with all things, at first you have to push out a product in order to let people know how much they hate it, in order to fix it and produce a product everyone loves.

  • Edu Pimentel

    I really wish that rather than concentrating on the visual design aspect, they´d concentrate on the usability design portion. One thing I never understood is why apps keep showing us loading screens for online information.
    Take weather apps for example. Suppose that my phone checked (with a wakelock) the weather 30 minutes ago, updating the information. Now, 30 minutes later, I want to check the weather and open the weather app.It decides the information is old, and goes online to check for new weather information, meanwhile all the user sees is a "loading" screen.
    For countries/areas where connection is bad/slow/non-existent, it´s frustrating and counter-productive for a "smart"-phone.
    The interesting solution is to show the last update, informing when that information was last updated, meanwhile in the background, the app searches for the updated information, only updating the on-screen information when all new data has been gathered.

    I use as an example the weather app, but this is true for hangouts, facebook, tapatalk, feedly, google drive, news&weather. The only apps I see as taking advantage of this is Gmail and WhatsApp... this should be the norm and enforced via Google's design parameters, and should be priority, not which color icons use.

    • MindFever

      Thats exaclty how weather info card works in Google now ...

  • tokuiten

    This just looks so incredibly ugly, especially that tall action bar and offset hamburger menu.

  • killik

    Is there any word on the tools provided to implement that new look ?

    Will it be part of the support library ? come with new IDE hooks ?
    Just be a sample with a couple of resources & it is up to the designers & devs to copy it ?

  • Pierre Gardin

    I miss the old Google, with less redesigns and more new features.

    • AbbyZFresh

      So you miss the days when they were just a search engine and nothing more?

      How pitiful.

      • Pierre Gardin

        No.

        I miss when they didn't redesign the camera icon for every Android release and made people work on a RAW camera mode instead.

        (just an example)

      • perfectlyreasonabletoo

        He might be talking about the way that they frequently make new versions of apps that are prettier but have fewer features or are functionally inferior. Camera, Maps, Browser, Reader, YouTube...

  • Guest

    Why the action bar icons are so small? Just sayin.

  • AbbyZFresh

    So Google want's to take the Windows 8 route with this ugly design across all platforms?

    No thanks.

  • Eddie Hines

    This is Android 4.5 Lollipop!

  • hocestquisumus

    This doesn't look like it's 1998. Change is bad. SHITSTOOOOOOORM!!!!!!!

  • jim

    Google and Apple? hhahhaha. Google lives because Microsoft live. FU Scroogle. Buy Windows Phone 8 without Lags.

  • Dzertyx

    It seems to be consistent with the print screens of the Gmail desktop UI which leaked a few months ago : http://goo.gl/yHxl20.

  • M S

    Does anyone have a download-link for this polymer thing?

    I just want a zip with code inside that i can look at to see what it is.

    The site is absolutely useless, since it just refers to other frameworks and crap (wtf is "bower"), and those frameworks sites just does the same, etc, etc.

    I don't want to spend the rest of my life untangling that mess of dependencies..

  • http://mordaxx.com/ Mordaxx

    Maybe I'm being stupid, but if I understood correctly Google and Apple will work together for a unified user interface?

  • http://www.viddy-up.com/ Gregkumar

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