Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
|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.|
Google's Inbox implements a really smart management paradigm - specifically, users can swipe in one direction to "snooze" a message (designating a time at which the message will reappear in the inbox), or swipe the other way to mark the message "done," essentially archiving it. Steve Albright, in a post to Google+, recently opined that this paradigm might find a good home among all of Android's notifications, rather than being confined to Inbox messages.
Good news! Those lucky individuals who are already using Inbox by Gmail, Google's latest comprehensive reimagining of email, are now able to invite three people to the service, just by hitting (or hovering over) the compose button (which Google calls "speed dial"). It's not clear if every user has received their allotment of three invites just yet, but Google says everyone can expect to get three invites "soon."
Hey Inboxers, you can invite your friends.
Today, Google officially announced
Gmail Blue Inbox, a service we posted about just last night. Previously codenamed Bigtop, Inbox by Gmail is a full reimagining of how an email product should work, and how users should interact with their email.
It is really rare for a product to come out that actually reimagines something rather than just claiming it does, but Inbox is really a fresh take on... the inbox.
Reaching "Inbox zero" is not an easy task. Especially when there are those emails that might require future action, or those that hang in a nebulous state of still being useful despite the conversation having ended. It's also not very easy to parse out exactly what you need to get done after poring over a page of emails. To address both of these issues (and a few others), Google has been working on a project called Bigtop.
We've already seen about a half-dozen Google apps leaked in a Nexus 6 system dump, but we haven't taken a look at Google Drive yet. The app does have some material design in store though - as with the others - it's still in testing, so anything could change. That said, it's worth taking a look. Google Drive has implemented many of the new material design paradigms that make the app cleaner, leaner, and easier to use.
Have you gotten tired of these app walkthroughs yet? Well, we have one more for right now - Google Play Books. The update to Google Play Books that we're looking at here is - like everything else - pre-release, meaning things could change a little or a lot before the app is actually released. But what we're seeing so far is a minor nudge for the app, bringing it into line with the rest of Google's apps.
Next up on our tour of (yet unreleased) Google app redesigns is Google Calendar. We actually got a glimpse of this redesign way back in April when Geek.com originally leaked the app as it was then. Since then, it seems that not a ton has changed, but we can get a more complete look at the app as it stands now.
Google wants its calendar app to be all about smartness.
Early this morning, we took a quick look at the onboarding video/process for Google's impending update to Gmail 5.0. The critical feature shown off in the video was the ability to handle all your email providers in one app, meaning users could access Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and others all from Google's singular Gmail app.
We've since learned that - besides handling the providers above - Gmail will support Exchange mail, and it appears Gmail will obviate the stock Email app entirely, prompting users to go directly to the Gmail app instead of dealing with a separate solution.
Continuing our journey through the new Google apps from Android 5.0 Lollipop, let's make a quick stop at Google Play Music. The update to this app has been anxiously awaited since it was demonstrated at Google I/O. And indeed, even Google's own product page for the Nexus 6 shows off some of the animations we've been salivating over for months.
The Google Play Music app found in a leaked dump of the Nexus 6 doesn't contain those animations, sadly, but it does continue the app's march toward compliance with Google's new design spec with bolder colors, new iconography, and a few touches that will set the stage for future awesomeness.