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server-side test

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[Update: Once more] Google testing a colorless shapeless Play Store redesign with large Install button

You know those beautiful bold colors that were supposed to make out Material Design? Yup, we've been kissing them goodbye for a long time now and it looks like they might be stripped away from one more app on your phone: the Play Store.

A couple of users have started seeing a new Play Store interface that takes away the green title and notification bar, replaces them with a white one.

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Instagram tests two-tab layout for older posts that values recommendations more than your actual feed

On days like this, I start wondering whether Instagram is actively trying to sabotage itself. Or, more accurately, if Facebook is actively trying to sabotage Instagram. The photo and video sharing service has been "experimenting" with varied feed content for a long time, sprinkling in sponsored posts and stories and IGTV videos, but the latest server-side test takes the proverbial cake (and smashes it on the face of a puppy — yes, that's how infuriating this is).

When you scroll back enough to see the "You're all caught up" message, you might get two tabs if you're part of the test.

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Facebook's promised Messenger redesign is starting to roll out to some users

During its F8 2018 conference in May, Facebook previewed a major redesign to Messenger that it had teased earlier in the year, saying it would simplify the experience, remove some of the unnecessary interface elements, and put emphasis on the features most users want to get to quickly. Oh, and it should have a dark mode too. While the company said the new look would come soon, it took a bit over four months for us to see the first sign of it.

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Google might rebrand the Feed to Discover, change its icon to an asterisk

In today's episode of "Google can't leave well enough alone," we have a small peek at what might be the next rebrand of the Google Feed. First, it was Google Now, then it started slowly changing to a news feed with a newspaper-like icon, which was redesigned to a home button when the Feed we all know now launched last year. There might be another change in tow though, as some users are starting to see a new asterisk-shaped icon instead, with the name "Discover" linked to it.

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Google Assistant's new Material visual responses start rolling out to some users

Back at I/O 2018, Google announced two changes to the design and experience of Assistant on your phone. The first one, the visual snapshot that brings Google Now-like cards of your day, rolled out a couple of months ago (even though most of us still don't have the fancy swipe-up gesture to activate it); but the second one, which involves bigger cards and more visual responses, has just started showing up for some users.

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Google Search shows relevant sites from your personal browsing history above top results

When you need to find something on the internet, you Google it. But "Googling" has started to expand beyond just looking for articles online, it now also searches for your personal information and shows it only to you. This happens when you look for a name of a contact you frequently email (you get some Gmail conversations), for an appointment's title, or for destinations you've received flight/hotel information for, and more. Soon, it may also start including your own browsing history.

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Google Maps tests an option to back out of navigation without stopping it, then resume thanks to a 'Current trip' shortcut

The day is finally here. After whining, asking, begging, and praying, it appears* that the Google Maps team has listened and is working on implementing a way for you to launch navigation, continue using the app as normal, then go back to your directions without interrupting a thing. 

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Google Maps is testing a combined Commute tab to replace Driving and Transit

The Google Maps team seems to be trying out different layouts and options for its bottom tabs. Most users have three tabs (Explore, Driving, Transit), in the US and other select countries you also have the For You tab, some users are starting to see another separate tab for the Map, and I just came across this other design with a combined Commute tab.

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[Why?] Google Maps tests a standalone Map tab, separating it from the driving and transit views

You open a maps application, you expect to see a map of where you are. It's common sense, yet we have to start this news article with this pretty basic knowledge bit. The reason? Whoever is behind the latest Google Maps server-side test seems to have missed that "Map app making 101" lesson and went free-styling with their own ideas.

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