Google is no stranger to testing new features or design tweaks on its live products, and search has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately. It doesn't necessarily come as a surprise, then, to see new design tweaks appearing for some users in Google's image search results.
The new design, which so far appears to be in very limited testing, offers a brighter layout for individual images - the background is a light #eeeeee as opposed to the solid black seen in its current iteration, and there's a relocated "close" button along with a new way to show image details.
In the current layout (as you'll see below), details are behind an overflow button. Read More
Google has been testing lots of tweaks for its mobile search engine results page lately. We've seen colored underlines on results cards and a rather pleasing new layout for the search bar and associated tools, and now a few users are reporting something a little strange - colored dots. We've received multiple reports of search result cards with four dots (colored with Google's signature blue, green, yellow, and red) in the lower right corner.
The colored dots, if you're wondering, didn't seem to do anything when tapped for our original tipsters, but reader Ali notes below that the dots do seem to work just like tapping on the card's URL. Read More
According to a tipster (and a report over at DroidLife), Google is testing a new feature for Google+ that could be big news for the platform. For now, it's called "Collections," and it's being tested for an unspecified release target.
The basic idea behind Collections is curated content sets - like Pinterest boards or Dribbble buckets, users could curate pieces of content into their collection, with others viewing, sharing, and following those collections as they please.
Here's a look at a collection (note that Derek Ross is not our source - the tipster simply sent a screenshot of a collection including posts by Ross.)
We also got a look at what posts from a collection look like on mobile - they're designated with a subheader containing the name of the collection. Read More
Republic Wireless, the Sprint MVNO that burdens as much cellular load as it can onto Wi-Fi networks and seamlessly switches between the two, is changing the way it handles plans. Starting later this year, the company will charge you based on how much you use rather than the speed of your data connection. It will also offer refunds if you don't use up all the data you pay for each month. The carrier is calling this project Maestro.
Republic Wireless currently charges 5$ for Wi-Fi only plans, $10 for Wi-Fi and talk/text, $25 for 3G, and $40 for LTE. This approach places the emphasis on network-type-used, rather than the amount consumed. Read More
YouTube isn't the only Google web property getting some A/B testing right now. Apparently Maps is under the microscope as well, with Google testing a new nav drawer menu and refreshed biking and traffic elements.
The nav drawer icon, as you might expect, is embedded in the search bar, a pattern introduced with the new nav drawer icon and material design.
There's also a "road sign" navigation icon embedded in the same bar.
As mentioned, biking and traffic legends have been refreshed in the new design, too. The information panels have been broken out of the search interface, centered at the bottom of the UI. Read More
Twitter looks to be in the process of rolling out a handy feature in its official app, but you probably don't have it yet. A number of users in the Twitter beta program report they now have a built-in browser for viewing links. This appears to be a server-side change, so you can't just install an APK to enable it.
Search, as the foundational product Google is known for, is obviously something the company is very thoughtful of when it comes to design. Even small changes can cause a big impact on user experience and engagements, so Google is careful about how design tweaks are implemented.
One common method of testing and easing into (or out of) design tweaks is A/B testing (something we recently saw Google experimenting with in the Google+ app). Today, it looks like Google has begun an experiment on its search engine results page when users search from Chrome on mobile devices. Rather than show results in a lineup, separated by gray lines, Google is playing with a layout that puts each result on its own card, underscored by a line colored to match one of Google's four primary brand colors - blue, green, yellow, and red. Read More
From time to time, Google engages in A/B testing with its live products. Flipping switches from somewhere deep in its Mountain View HQ, Google will turn on new design tweaks or feature changes for small groups of users, and measure their impact on engagement. This is generally a helpful process for validating design decisions, and occasionally we catch them in the act and get a peek at what might be around the corner.
Today, reports started popping up that Google might be testing some UI tweaks with its Google+ app for Android. Before you get excited, these tweaks don't include a hamburger menu. Read More