Google has been teasing a dark theme for Maps for a year now, and after some code surfaced that pointed to traces of a dark mode in version 10.50 of the app, we got our first look at a proper, finished night-compatible theme in version 10.51.1 in September. That limited server-side update only affected a few users and was very quickly rolled back. The Maps team seems ready to share its dark mode again with the world as a few users have noticed it on their devices now.
It's incredible how feature-packed Gboard has become over the years with integrated stickers, GIFs, Google Search, clipboard management, and much more, so Google is trying to make some options more accessible. At the moment, the company is testing a function that gives people GIF and sticker suggestions when they add emoji through the keyboard.
When Android 10 officially rolled out, dark mode aficionados were a bit miffed to see that several of the apps that were still white hadn't been updated yet. The Google app, Play Store, Maps, and Gmail were the biggest holdouts, but now the last one is finally getting its darkness on.
Recently, Google announced many new features coming to its travel planning services, including flight and hotel insights. Those changes are only a small part of the overhauled hotel listing layout that's rolling out to Google Maps right now. While the design appears to be cosmetic at first, with plenty of the new Material accents everywhere, you can quickly spot many useful new additions as well as some very worrying feature removals.
The road to Instant Apps has been a long and tedious one. After being announced at I/O 2016 (yes, more than a year ago), they only began testing at the start of 2017, were opened to devs at I/O this year, and started properly rolling then to reach more than 500 Million devices in August. One component was still missing though from the Instant Apps experience: a way to try an Instant App on the Play Store without downloading it first. That's what we're here to talk about.