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Design

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Android Q Beta 2 hints at upcoming Pixel Themes app

Slowly but surely, Google is embracing theming in Android. In the first Android Q beta, basic settings in the developer options allowed us to change the font, icon shape, and accent color throughout the OS. In Beta 2, icon shape selection now applies to settings app icons as well as quick settings and home screen apps. At some point in the future, it appears that a standalone Pixel Themes app will control these functions.

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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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Google Search news results get a Material Design refresh

With Google, you have many ways of accessing the news. If you want to dive into a particular topic, your best bet is to use Google Search itself. Soon, you'll be able to do that in a fancier fashion in the search app and on the mobile web, as Google is working on a Material Design refresh for its news section. Our lucky tipsters got an early glance at it through the company's notorious A/B testing.

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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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