People were understandably excited when Nova Launcher added icon normalization to the beta app. This feature automatically scales app icons to make the sizes more visually consistent. It's been a few weeks, but icon normalization is ready for prime time as part of the new v4.1 update in the Play Store.
Google has always encouraged developers to design their app icons with a "unique silhouette." This gives designers the freedom to come up with neat stuff, but there are drawbacks. For example, icons that are just weird sizes and look out of place on your device. Well, there's a new Nova Launcher feature coming that could fix that. "Icon normalization" is in private alpha now, and it's coming to the beta channel very soon.
It's new logo day at Google, and that means your favorite apps are getting a few icon tweaks. Several of Google's apps had the little 'g' somewhere, but that's no longer part of the logo. Now it's all about the big G, and Google is already updating icons on the web to reflect that.
In an apparent effort to boost app discoverability and engagement, it looks like Google is rolling out a beautiful new layout for "apps" search results on mobile. Doing a quick search for pretty much anything followed by the word "apps" will get you a grid of app results above the normal search results, each block colored according to the app's icon. Clicking the "expand" button opens up the grid, with more results smoothly flowing in. Check it out in motion below.
Worth noting is that these results seem to only appear on Android for now - the download numbers and ratings of course reflect Play Store stats, and each block will take you to the relevant Play Store listing.
Nearly two months after we first saw the in-progress Hangouts 4.0 update, we were starting to worry it would never make its official appearance on the Play Store. But recently our collective wish was granted and Hangouts got a big update. Google says this is Hangouts' update to material design, but what exactly does that mean for the app? There's more here than just a new FAB, so let's take a closer look at some of the notable design changes in Hangouts 4.0.
The journey to material
Despite what the change log may suggest, Hangouts didn't suddenly arrive at "material" with the 4.0 update.
Yesterday, we took a look at the YouTube Gaming app (at least the creator preview). Navigating through the app, users will see several elements obviously informed by YouTube's existing design - the video player can be minimized and dismissed, the navigation model relies entirely on tabs, and getting users to discover more content is the name of the game. But the app branches off from YouTube's design and UX - and the design of all of Google's Android apps - in some really remarkable and unique ways.
For that reason, I thought it may be fun to take a closer look at the design of YouTube Gaming (Creator Preview).
Another long design test appears to be drawing to a close for Google. After apparently beginning a wider rollout for the new mobile search UI (in testing since April), it seems that Google is making the revised image results UI final too.
This layout has been popping up since at least May, with a brighter, more crisp interface that offers more iconography, refined typography, and - yes - a section for related images.
Right now, if you're watching a YouTube video through the official YouTube app, you can tap the video player to bring up the scrubber and lots of other controls - minimize, add to playlist, share (again), full screen, and an overflow menu which offers quality and closed captioning options.
Googler Kirill Grouchnikov likes to clue everyone into the subtle design tweaks in upcoming versions of the Play Store as they roll out, and today he's posted not once, not twice, but three times about a slick new hamburger animation. Is that overkill? I don't know... it's a pretty cool animation.
Pixate is a tool that helps designers prototype native mobile applications without pulling their hair out. Now it's a part of Google.
The first immediate impact of this acquisition is that Pixate Studio is now free to use. You can go download the software to a Windows PC or Mac right away to create interfaces for your Android or iOS device. Then, if you want to share your prototypes with teammates online, Pixate's new cloud plan goes for $5 a month or $50 a year. The desktop software integrates seamlessly with cloud accounts.