Lurking in the developer options of the Android M dev preview is something called System UI Tuner. It's not a very descriptive name, but if you back out to the main system settings, you'll see it listed at the bottom. Open it up and you can customize the Quick Settings finally. It's something most Android OEMs have been doing for years.
There are a lot of new things in Android M, but this is an example of something old made new again. The app drawer and widget picker in the Android M dev preview scroll vertically instead of side-to-side in a series of pages. The last time we had this behavior it was back in the pre-ICS days.
Some people were quite displeased by Google's move to a white system theme in Android 5.0 Lollipop. It can be quite retina-searing in a dark room, but the Android M preview offers a solution. In developer options is a menu that enables a new material dark system mode. Behold.
Ever since its first release, Inbox by Gmail has been donning more and more features, all priming it for its graduation from an invite-only state to a public release. And that moment is now. Inbox no longer requires an invite for regular Gmail users and Work customers, and has gained a couple of interesting capabilities along the way. Read More
Last year when material design was introduced to the world, Google emphasized that its specs were a living document. Indeed we've seen several updates to the spec itself since it launched, but Google's also paying attention to its overall design presence, as evidenced by today's major update to google.com/design.
The site has been made over with a new grid filled to the brim with awesome content.
Google has added design guidance for TV and Auto, and even added an entire article about branding in material design, something I've written about before here at AP. There are also guides for designing between platforms and a downloadable icon font. Read More
We have already posted a pretty thorough preview of the features coming with the new Google Photos app, but that doesn't mean Google didn't save a couple of surprises for IO. The big bombshell is that, starting later today, users will be able to upload an unlimited number of photos and videos for free. If you weren't using Google as your primary source for photo archiving, this news may give you reason to reconsider.
Your pictures and videos won't be compressed into oblivion either, they will be stored at up to 16MP for images and 1080p for video. Read More
One year on, Google's material design philosophy is still picking up steam. As popular as it's become in the community though, there are still some holes left to fill in terms of implementation.
Until now, developers have had to rely on third-party libraries (in conjunction with Google's own support library) to create elements like floating action buttons, but Google is looking to fix that, releasing a new design support library today that fills in some of the holes. Read More
Besides new family-friendly and kid-friendly efforts on search and discovery in the Play Store, Google announced during its keynote today that Play Store search will be getting smarter overall.
Specifically, Google wants to more effectively surface apps when users search for vague or topical queries. The example given in the screenshot above shows the user searching for "shopping" apps. The Play Store then returns, of course, shopping apps. But those apps are then categorized intelligently into different sub-genres like Fashion and Coupons.
This may seem like a small tweak to most users, but - if Google is right - it will help introduce users to the right app when the user is not sure exactly what they're looking for, which is a good step in helping along discoverability in the Play Store as a whole. Read More
When it comes to getting users to your app, your Play Store listing counts for a lot. What users see (and read) when they reach your app's listing can make or break their decision to download or buy, so carefully crafting a good listing is important.
To that end, Google has announced that it will open up what amounts to A/B testing for Play Store listings, meaning developers can play with their listings by testing different screenshots, graphics, etc. to see what performs better and end up with the best possible listing.
To facilitate this, Google will add "Listing Experiments" to the Play Store developer console. Read More