Google has been steadily updating its wearable apps with new designs and features for Wear OS 3, but in some cases, older watches can benefit from the updated apps as well. That's what's happening with Google Messages this week, as a brand-new version of the app is rolling out for Android smartwatches new and old.
Google delivers its Android and Chrome OS emoji through the open source Noto Emoji project, and its latest release is a big one. Our last update arrived back in September, and now this new revision is making tweaks all over: refining colors and textures, updating shading and positioning, and covering everything from numbers and symbols, to fruits and veggies.
Wide-ranging visual changes are arriving with Android 12, all part of Google's brand-new Material You design system. Reactions to this have, on the whole, been pretty positive, but there are some aspects of it that aren't quite so popular. Animations are getting a lot of attention, since they've remained unchanged for so long, and the new ripple effect, in particular, isn't going down so well.
When Apple announced that it was bringing widgets to iOS, it was hard not to be a little bit jealous as an Android user. Yes, we've had widgets since the beginning, but they've been so badly neglected for so long that most of them look awful — even Google's own — and there's no consistency in the way work. iPhone widgets are much more rigid and they look a lot better for it. Thankfully, Google is finally giving widgets the attention they've long needed.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Google unveiled Material Design at I/O back in 2014. An overarching design system was much-needed — it brought consistency to Google's digital products and allowed developers to easily build apps that looked at home on Android and the web. It has evolved a great deal over the years, but the next major iteration is upon us and it's going to be the biggest overhaul since it launched. Material You, as the name suggests, is all about personalization, and it's coming first to Google Pixels with Android 12 later this year.
Last year, YouTube shed its lifeless, gray in-app icons for more visually distinct line-art ones. It seems like sister app YouTube Music might not be too far from getting the same treatment — the new icons are already being tested.
After successfully cloning Snapchat's Stories, Instagram is pushing hard to break into the next market. Not too long ago, it introduced its TikTok copy Reels, which is currently rolling out to users worldwide. To put the new format front and center, Instagram has formally announced that it will now get a fixed place in the bottom bar along with a new Shop section.