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Design

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Android O feature spotlight: WiFi and cellular status bar icons switch positions again [order has been restored]

Sometimes it's the little things in life that bring the most joy. Google often uses Android developer previews to test small changes and gauge public opinion on them ahead of a final release. This may or may not be one such example. Dev Preview 3 has reversed a tiny change that was made in the last version, namely changing the order of the WiFi and cellular icons on the status bar.

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Bottom navigation is being tested for the YouTube Music app

After some time spent testing out different bottom navigation styles, the latest incarnation in the Android YouTube app is something very similar to what you'll find in the iOS version. It's still being a/b tested as far as we know, so some users will see it and others won't. It now appears that the YouTube Music app is following suit with a bottom navigation UI of its own.

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Facebook Messenger is testing yet more interface changes, with tabs and Instant Games section

We knew changes were incoming for Facebook Messenger after last month's F8 Developer Conference, during which the focus was largely on better discovery of bots and "Chat Extensions" to add those bots into group conversations. Now it seems Facebook is testing new UI changes, including top-level tabs and a games section in the bottom nav bar.

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:D Facebook reactions are now also available for comments

Early last year, Facebook got all emotional, allowing us to do more than just actively like or passively dislike a thing. Reactions were introduced in the biggest shake-up the Like button had ever seen. This made it possible to react to a post with the entire range of human emotions. Well, with love, laughter, shock, sadness, or anger. Of course, this wasn't enough. We want to be able to react with emotion to everything. So now Facebook is bringing these same options to the comments below posts, too.

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New home screen in Google Maps for Android, exclusive to India

Google announced today on its India Blog that it's introducing a new home screen layout for Maps on Android. The new interface has been designed exclusively for users in India. In what looks like a streamlined version of the pull-up tab found in the US and European versions of the app, here we see cards that are optimized to be less data-hungry and load faster on poor connections across India.

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Sky Go app gets visual refresh, 7-day TV guide, and remote record in version 6.0

For viewers in the UK, the TV landscape is infinitely less cluttered compared with our American counterparts. Multiple time zones, networks, and providers in the US make things far more complex than in the UK. The strength of free-to-air TV means that a much smaller percentage of Brits actually pay for a satellite or cable service. For those who do, the dominant provider is Sky, whose Android app has just been updated. Version 6.0.9 brings with it a visual overhaul, full 7-day guide, and remote record/download.

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AOSP site gets updated with Material Design, a better mobile view, and clearer navigation

Google has given its Android Open Source Project (AOSP) website a considerable makeover, making it much easier on the eye and much more user-friendly too. The update brings it in line with Google's own Material Design guidelines, improves the mobile view, and introduces new top-level tabs to improve navigation.

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YouTube is testing yet another UI modification, this time for collapsed video playback

Spring cleaning of the YouTube Android app is continuing apace. Already this month we've seen tests for seek bar video previews and an iOS style bottom nav bar. Now, some users are seeing a new interface for collapsing the currently selected video, offering more than just a picture-in-picture window. The new UI moves this into a floating bottom bar including a play/pause button, as well as the option to close without having to swipe away.

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Google AutoDraw uses machine learning to make a designer out of anyone

The latest experiment to come out of Google Creative Lab is a web-based tool that uses machine learning to help you with all your design needs. If you need to fire off a quick design for a birthday card or an event poster, AutoDraw has you covered.

Using the simple MSPaint-style interface, all you have to do is draw a rudimentary outline of whatever you would like, and the suggestion tool will guess what you’re drawing and offer you far more professional looking alternatives. Click on a suggestion and it automatically replaces your inferior handiwork with something much prettier, sourced from various talented artists, designers, and illustrators.

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Saying goodbye to Android Police and hello to Google

Sometimes telling my own story is a challenge. So, after more than 5 years at AP, figuring out what to include in this post and how to write it hasn't been easy. But in the interest of eliminating suspense, I’ll give you the news up front:

I'm joining Google as part of the Design Relations team!

Android Police has been a big part of my life since I first started talking to Artem about contributing back in 2011. I won’t spell out the whole story here - if you want all the gory details I’ll tell you over coffee. But being part of the AP team has given me innumerable opportunities for new experiences, exploration, expression, and friendship.

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