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Chrome 85 Beta for Android to display 'fast page' labels for high-quality web pages

For a long time now, Google has been trying to make the web faster and more consistent for mobile devices. Earlier this year, it introduced Core Web Vitals as a new benchmark for making fast websites. Core Web Vitals has been playing a role in search rankings since May, and soon Chrome will use those statistics to directly label high-quality web pages, starting with how fast they are.

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Google Calendar web gets improved event creation and printout enhancements

Even though many Google desktop web apps are already pretty capable and easy to use, there are always things that can be improved, and as such, Calendar on the web has received an update. It's now possible to add more details in the pop-up event creation dialog, and you can finally create fully colored printouts, in case you still like to see your agenda in a physical form.

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Revamped Google Voice web interface offers quick access to calls and settings

In addition to voicemail transcription, Google Voice's strong suit is the ability to send and receive messages, check your voicemail, and even place calls from your phone or the web. The latter is particularly convenient, especially if your phone is charging or out of reach. Google has just made its app even more functional by designing a new interface that proves quick access to calls and settings.

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[Update: Rolling out to all] Google tests Material Theme icons for desktop search menu filters

Google began a Material Theme refresh of its desktop search UI last fall comprising tweaks all users see now, including a search "box" with rounded corners, more white, and a persistent search bar. The next step may be nigh, as the search engine is testing the addition of Material Theme icons that sit beside each search menu filter (e.g., News, Maps, Images, etc.) and are colorized when their corresponding filter is active.

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Material Design comes to Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites on the web

Following a slew of second-generation Material Design updates for the web over the past month or so (namely Calendar, Classroom, and Google Accounts), Google is bringing its modern design aesthetic to several more G Suite platforms on the web. Material Design is hitting Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites beginning today, January 15.

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[Update: Android too] YouTube adds 1.75x playback speed on the web

I would have never thought that a single YouTube playback speed setting would be requested or would get noticed this much, but today I've learned that you can't make assumptions like this without researching them first. It seems that the 1.75x speed setting has been asked about, not once, not twice, not even thrice, but even more times, and when it showed up a few days ago on the YouTube desktop site, many users did indeed notice it.

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Keep Notes on the web is the latest to get a Material Design refresh

It took a little longer than some other products, but the recently renamed Keep Notes Android app was updated in line with Google's new Material Theme last week. The same new stylings are now starting to roll out to Keep on the web, and it looks much cleaner than before.

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Google Search desktop UI showing refreshed Material Design with rounded corners and persistent search bar

I've been noticing it pretty much since I arrived in Germany for IFA 2018, and now we've had a few tips from readers to confirm it. Google's desktop search UI is being updated to more closely follow the latest evolution of the company's Material Design guidelines — this means rounded corners everywhere, more white than a snowstorm, and a persistent search bar.

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