In a rather exciting post to its Google Design Google+ page today, Google announced a big set of improvements to the material design guidelines. The design spec, which - since this summer - has been a "preview," has been updated with links to relevant Android developer documentation, a new section called "What is Material?" a "What's new" section (to stay up to date on any changes), and a couple of other exciting changes.
It goes without saying for most Android enthusiasts that the side-navigation drawer is a hot point of contention right now. With the introduction of material design, Google emphasized information hierarchy heavily, giving advice in its design specifications on how to arrange just about everything, including side navigation. According to the specifications (and Googler Roman Nurik), the "correct" behavior for the side drawer is to slide in as a sheet of paper over the entire canvas, including the app bar or toolbar.
Staying in a hotel with crappy Wi-Fi is frustrating, but not half so frustrating as finding this out by starting up your phone, connecting, realizing there's no Internet access, then manually disabling Wi-Fi to make sure it goes back to 3G or LTE. In Lollipop, Android 5.0 will do that for you: when the system sees no connection to the Internet (or more probably Google servers) via a Wi-Fi connection on a device with a cellular radio, it will automatically default to mobile data to keep an active connection.
Just over a week after its last update, it seems Google Play Services is receiving another bump - this time up to 6.1.71.
Of course, Google hasn't posted an official change log for the update quite yet, but we've already got the APK and can point out a few differences. The most obvious one is of course the new launcher icon for Google Settings, which follows Google's yet unspoken launcher icon design guidelines
If you've been paying attention the last several months, you're probably aware that since we posted our early look at Google's revamped launcher icons, users have been yearning for the "materialized" versions of their favorite apps' icons. This new design direction even spurred custom icon packs to replicate the look and feel of the rumored Google goodies. For developers and designers on Android, it's easy to see the attention the new icons are getting and start thinking about redesigning your own app's launcher icon.
For a long time now, Google's Search app has had a new, more rounded launcher icon and a simple label in your app drawer: Google. The app's Play Store listing, however, has stubbornly clung to the name "Google Search," while retaining the old boxy icon of yore. Without a word, it looks like Google has cleaned up its Play Store listing at long last with the refreshed icon and simplified name.
A couple of months ago, we shared an early look at an impending Play Store update that saw more "materialized" content listings, but the rest of the interface remained largely unchanged. The new, more image-focused interface made thoughtful use of increased white space and introduced some really fun tablet layouts for content listings from movies to books, music, and apps.
This time, we have an early look at the Play Store's upcoming 5.0 release.
Talon updates often come with big changelogs, and version 2.6 is no exception. Klinker Apps has managed to cram quite a bit of enhancements into this release. The top items concern changes to the appearance, such as a new app icon, a tweaked compose window, and two downloadable open source themes inspired by the "L" preview version of Talon. These are joined by an "L" Roboto font option under settings that, unlike the themes, doesn't require installing anything extra.
The app updates just keep coming. Joining Maps, Translate, and Wallet on the list of updated Google apps today, YouTube got a bump to 5.5.26, an update which brought with it several UI tweaks, and a new icon. Actually, the icon appears to be a mistake. Google has shipped out the Dogfood version of YouTube, meant for internal testing. As such, the updated app has a previously unseen "dogfood" settings screen with a few options related to "ExoPlayer."
Elsewhere, there are considerable UI tweaks that appear to represent a move toward higher information density, and an effort to put things where users will find them more naturally.
A few weeks ago we found some Newsstand-related goodies in the Play Store APK, hinting at the possibility that the upcoming news service is poised to absorb Google's Play Magazines.
In the teardown, we found a wide range of assets with a purple-and-white Newsstand icon, making use of a brand color similar to the purple that currently belongs to Play Magazines. This lead us to believe that Google had abandoned the yellow hue we previously suspected in pursuing a strategy that would lead to Magazines' being gobbled up by the new service.