Android 12 Beta 3 has a bunch of new Material You integrations for the platform's dynamic theming system, and nestled among them (which we're still digging through) is a tweak to the Pixel Launcher. It seems pretty buggy and inconsistent in our testing, and it has some UI implications that could make Google reconsider it, but individual items in the Pixel Launcher's long-press menus can now inherit multiple, separate colors according to your wallpaper and what's directly behind the individual buttons.

Different backgrounds and different places = different colors. 

The feature is surprisingly hard to trigger sometimes, and certain wallpapers are better at it than others. We've been playing with it for a bit today, trying to figure out the precise logic behind how it works, and it seems to pull colors based on the average color for a hard-to-define area behind where the buttons would be placed. Sometimes it seems to average out very colorful images into choosing just one generally present color, but it can pull up to three colors for UI elements in our testing. For all we know, it could grab even more colors for app shortcuts with more than three buttons, but it's quite temperamental and usually just snags one or two in our testing.

While this might seem like a fun way to highlight Android 12's snazzy dynamic Material You theming, it may actually be a bad idea from a UI/UX perspective. After all, when it comes to buttons, different colors usually imply drastically different actions, and the level of saturation here is right on the edge of implying more than these menu items really represent. In the central case above, "wallpaper & style" almost looks like a cancel- or no-type button based on its color, with "home settings" looking like some kind of yes interaction on the right. For simple decoration, it can border on confusing.

It works for app shortcuts as well — seemingly all long-press items in the launcher. 

In short: While the Pixel Launcher on Android 12 Beta 3 is a lot more colorful, this is one change that might be hampering usability. I think Google may wish to desaturate these a little more, or maybe even consider switching to just a single background-inherited color. While most of the Material You changes are fun, this very specific one may actually be a small step back, trading usability for aesthetics in a way that doesn't really benefit anyone. (And I love basically all of the Material You changes otherwise.)