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Design

27

That sleek new Google Messages for Wear OS UI is now rolling out

That sleek new Google Messages for Wear OS UI is now rolling out

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.

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21

Chrome is getting a fresh Material makeover for its system pages

Chrome is getting a fresh Material makeover for its system pages

It's been a few years now since Google gave Chrome one of its biggest makeovers to date — a perfect treat (for most) to celebrate the browser's first decade. Its Material makeover ditched the trapezoidal shapes and drab gray for a modern, rounded look that's more in line with Google's updated design system. However, the lack of theming in Chrome's system pages (settings and bookmarks, for example) is a testament to the absence of consistency in Google's implementation of Material Design. But with an upcoming change, it seems like the company finally wants to apply its attractive design language to Chrome in a consistent manner.

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27

Google just added three gorgeous new Pixel wallpapers

Google just added three gorgeous new Pixel wallpapers

Google's Pixel wallpapers can be a bit hit-and-miss, especially compared to the excellent selection in Chrome OS. However, a new batch of three walls just arrived on Pixels that are pretty dang nice, especially when paired with Android 12's Material You dynamic accent colors.

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45

Google's polishing up its emoji — probably for Android 12

Google's polishing up its emoji — probably for Android 12

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.

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30

Android 12's sparkly ripples are (mostly) gone in Beta 3

Android 12's sparkly ripples are (mostly) gone in Beta 3

Android 12 is one of the most significant redesigns we've seen in years, but not every change has been for the better. Google added a new sparkle effect to taps in Beta 1, but users found it confusing enough to be mistaken for a bug. After promising to dial down the sparkles in future revisions — and not really changing much in last month's Beta 2 — Google has finally returned most of the ripples to normal in its latest update.

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87

Google backtracks on Android 12's new ripple effect after users confuse it for a bug

Google backtracks on Android 12's new ripple effect after users confuse it for a bug

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.

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75

Apple forced Google to re-think widgets for Android 12

Apple forced Google to re-think widgets for Android 12

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.

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90

Everything you need to know about Android 12's big Material You redesign

Everything you need to know about Android 12's big Material You redesign

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.

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16

YouTube's new icon style is making its way to YouTube Music

YouTube's new icon style is making its way to YouTube Music

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.

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12

Instagram revamps its bottom bar, putting Reels and Shop front and center

Instagram revamps its bottom bar, putting Reels and Shop front and center

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.

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