Sometimes the smallest changes can make for the best improvements. The latest update to Chrome Dev for Android scored some points with us earlier for expanding theme color support for users that don't care for merging their tabs with apps, but that wasn't the only cool enhancement that came along. Users can now look forward to seeing a snackbar open up each time a download completes. The handy widget shows both the name of the downloaded file and a button to open it.
Left: The new snackbar in action. Right: Snackbar on Dev Preview 3 missing the open button.
In earlier versions of Chrome, all download operations appeared only as an animated notification. Read More
In version 39, Chrome for Android learned an awesome trick: using a simple HTML tag, any webpage could tell Chrome to theme its UI (and your device's status bar) with a specified color. The downside to this feature was that it only worked if tabs and apps were "merged," meaning your Chrome tabs would show up inline with your recent apps, rather than relying on Chrome's own in-app tab switcher.
Today, a Chrome for Android developer at Google let Reddit know that the theme-color attribute will soon make Chrome snazzy even if you don't have tabs and apps merged. Right now the flag (chrome://flags/#enable-theme-color-in-tabbed-mode) will only work in Chrome Dev 47.0.2516.0 (available from the Play Store or APK Mirror), and support isn't complete yet - the flag won't allow Chrome to theme your status bar and swiping across the toolbar to switch tabs is a little glitchy, for instance. Read More
Do you remember how happy everyone was when the first Android M developer preview had a dark system UI mode? Get ready for the exact opposite of that feeling. A reply to the issue tracker thread indicates that Google won't be making the dark theme available in Android 6.0. It might still happen in the future, though. Read More
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). Read More
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. Read More
The share button inside YouTube is unlike the icon used in virtually every other Android app. Rather than the usual set of three connected dots, we see a horizontally flipped version of the reply symbol in Gmail. Well, Google isn't yet changing the iconography, but it does seem to be testing out a new location.
In addition to the share button's usual home at the top-right corner of a video, we're also seeing it next to the like and dislike buttons.
If you're not seeing the new layout, try closing the YouTube app and opening it again. That works for some users. Read More
Pop over to the Play Store website on your computer real quick. I'll wait. Notice anything different? It's very likely that you're seeing the new app pages that started showing up months ago for users who weren't logged in. Now it sounds like almost everyone has the new look (everyone at APHQ is seeing it as well).
Googler Kirill Grouchnikov likes to show off the little UI flourishes in the Play Store, sometimes even before they are live for users. We like the small stuff, and you probably do too. So you'll be happy to know there are two subtle UI tweaks incoming with the next Play Store update. One is in the kids "character" section and the other is in the What's New box we all know and love.
Back in September, Hangouts switched from gray to green in its 2.3 update, ostensibly making the first baby steps on its journey toward joining Google's material design parade. Then in December we first spied a slightly more material version of the app. Now, users are running version 3.3 and many aren't satisfied with the app's layouts or structure. Things like the seemingly unnecessary contacts tab, the somewhat messy drawer, and the non-standard toolbar are common complaints.
It looks like Google is working on fixing a lot of issues with an upcoming update to Hangouts 4.0 though. We've heard rumblings from Reddit of the new update, and now we've got an early look at the app. Read More
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.