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Design

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Google Chromecast ambient mode UI changes are rolling out to more users

This won't be the most important thing you'll read all day, but we're getting so many tips about it that we had to write a post. Back in April 2018, Google was spotted testing changes to the Chromecast ambient mode/home screen, and the new UI is now rolling out more widely.

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Samsung may have stopped limiting free theme usage on Android Pie

Over the years, Samsung has had some great ideas. The Note series pushed the industry to adopt larger screens, TouchWiz had one of the first implementations of multi-window, and Samsung Pay is one of the more versatile mobile payment solutions around. Its decision to begin pushing people to use paid themes by restricting free theme usage to two weeks was not one of those great ideas - and now it looks like that plan is being walked back.

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[Update: Official] Google Translate web is getting a Material Design makeover

The refreshed Material look, also known as Material theme or Material Design 2 in our circles, continues its march toward Google service domination. We've already seen it hit several apps on our phones, and its web expansion has been surprisingly rapid too. After Gmail, Google News, the Google support pages and personal account page, Android MessagesHangouts Chat, and even the Chrome web store, now's the time for us to have a glimpse at what Translate would look like in this new design.

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Google Photos site updated to match the app's refreshed Material UI

Google Photos' Android app was updated back in September to Google's hot new, mostly white aesthetic. At the time, the site still lagged behind with older iconography and layout, but no longer. Today Google has pushed that same Material Theme/Material Design 2 look onto the Google Photos site.

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Samsung Experience is now One UI, but everyone's just going to keep calling it TouchWiz

It's been a long time since Samsung actually shipped a phone with TouchWiz — more recent software has gone by the unimaginative "Samsung Experience" moniker — but the company's heavy-handed changes in Android have kept the dirty word around as something of a software slur. Samsung has just announced a new interface design for its Android 9 Pie update that it's calling One UI, but if history is any indicator, you're still gonna call it TouchWiz.

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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 Drive for Android is about to get a Material Design refresh

Google is continuing to slowly update all of its apps to a refreshed Material Design style (MD 2.0, to some) and the latest product to get this treatment is Google Drive on Android — the web version has already been updated. It's not actually live yet, but the code is there ready to go, so we can expect it to roll out to users soon.

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Android 1.0 versus Android 9: A visual tour of how far we've come in a decade

Android has changed tremendously in the last ten years. Returning to modern hardware after our historical series, I was struck by the visual differences across versions. For a closer look, we rolled back to an even earlier build on our T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream. For anyone who might be curious, here's a quick visual exploration of Android 1.0 vs. Android 9 Pie. And don't worry, this isn't one of those godawful click-for-every-photo galleries, just a simple scroll as we stroll back in time.

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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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