A new version of the Google app is making the rounds to users that have opted into the beta channel. This update is a bit tamer than some other recent version bumps. The only change popping up in the live interface at this point is a command to return the Google search widget to its original styling. However, there are quite a few small topics in the teardown, including the addition of Scenes to the upcoming support for Routines (a.k.a. multi-action shortcuts) and a couple more details about Quartz and devices that may be related to it. Read More
In the past couple of years, many apps have traded small search icons for full-width search bars. The Google Play Store is a prime example of this, and it makes hitting the search button much easier. To my eye, it improves the appearance of the app as well, but that's subjective. The Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview has brought the top-mounted search bar to all devices, marking another Pixel 2-exclusive lost. Read More
The Google app is responsible for a pretty staggering number of features ranging from the standard search interface, a voice assistant, and even a fully functional launcher. The latest update coming through the beta channel doesn't seem to have any new features going live quite yet, but there are a lot of changes to text and other resources, including the removal of all references to Bisto from the last teardown. Most of them are minor tweaks to features we've covered in the past, but a couple point to things we haven't explored yet. Users can look forward to pollen counts with their local weather and possibly a search bar located right in the notification shade. Read More
Snapchat is readying an update for its Android and iOS versions that brings a new interface with plenty of usability improvements and a few added features. The update is now rolling out to beta testers on Android so you can give it a go before it goes live for everyone — and thus feel cooler than the cool kids, I guess. Just don't use the word "thus" when you tell them that.
The new interface is more colorful with a blue title bar for chats and a purple one for stories. The Stories section also loses the Discover strip from the top. It now goes on the bottom instead, letting you focus first on the recent story updates from your friends. Read More
The Play Store, like many other Google apps, is no stranger to server-side UI updates; however, it's pretty rare for Google to be testing multiple changes at once. Currently, Google is not only testing a renamed Entertainment section, but also a different look for the carousel, the removal of the search bar, and a new Google Play Store banner. Read More
Google is on a crusade against search bars. Or so it seems to us at least. Late last year, the Play Store received an interface revamp that dumped the green search bar in favor of an overlaid grey bar with a hamburger menu, a voice search icon, and the words Google Play in grey that disappeared as soon as you started typing. Then a few days ago, it changed Play Books' search bar to a look that sits somewhere in the middle, with the blue bar switching into the grey one when you tapped to search.
Now it's Play Music's turn. Read More
A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.
App Drawer Changes
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer. Read More