What will Google apps look like in the new Android L?

by: Jonathan FeistJune 26, 2014

Android L Files Responsive Design

As we’ve long speculated, Google is launching a new design to their apps and services. With Today’s announcement at Google I/O for the upcoming Android L release, we’re seeing a lot of what is to come for Google’s services.

Google has launched a Material Design website. The site is designed to introduce and guide developers through updating or creating new apps and websites with Google’s new design methods. To that end, the site is a treasure trove of examples of what to expect for Google’s services moving forward.

Included in the available images are Contacts, Gmail, Gallery/Photos, Hangouts, Keep, Keyboard, Settings, YouTube and more.


Just like we speculated in our Quantum Paper post, the new designs follow the current Google+ app design. A solid flat color graces the top of the screen, the hamburger menu makes its way clearly onto the screen, instead of hovering on the edge, and a few new icons hit the page. In addition to what we are seeing here, there is a huge introduction to a lot of animation and transition effects.

The animations and transitions are an overall design to the entire Android OS, so we’ll get back to the Google apps in particular.

Most services have their own unique color, which we expect will travel across all platforms. For example, Google Drive may maintain the example color blue through the Android app, web interface, iOS and more.

Have a stroll through the gallery below.

As you can see, Google has nailed down a consistent look that flows through their suite of apps and services. Not only that, but the design is injected into the new Android L release itself. We look forward to checking out the developer release when it pushes out on day two of Google I/O.

What do you think, I hope you will agree that the unified design is a good thing, but do you like the style of choice?

  • Rishu Agrawal

    Did anyone notice that the draft tablet in that pic looks like the much rumoured Nexus 8 (made by HTC)? To add further consolidation to this rumour, the tablet even has front facing speakers (ala Boomsound?)

    • It certainly does. It is too bad they didn’t at least introduce the new tablet. Boomsound would be good, but just having front speakers in itself is a great move.

      • Rishu Agrawal

        I concur. They should have at least provided a teaser. :/ The speakers on this device (if real) should be great!

    • Nethaneel Sagun

      The Nexus 9, or the HTC Volantis, not the Nexus 8. :)

      • Rishu Agrawal

        Maybe you’re right, but I don’t know man. I have seen rumours saying that the screen size is 7.9″. But HTC Volantis seems right :)

    • jwtsonga

      yes it does indeed look like the 8.9 inch 4:3 ratio tablet. Kinda big for my taste, 8.3 in 16:10 would have been better for me…

    • Exited about Android L :3

      And next to it there is a Nexus 5 GG

  • Joshua Hill

    I really like the look of this. People talk about fragmentation and it doesn’t effect or bother me but I do wonder how developers/feel about Google changing their look every OS release and being asked to follow new design guidelines. Must make a lot of work for those dev’s who try to follow Google’s guidelines.

    • joser116

      At least Google looks like it will follow its own guidelines this time. I can’t wait for the Google Play Music redesign. I also want to see if the stutter problem is finally gone like the presenter said.

    • Ray

      Agree. There are so many apps that haven’t adapted to the current guidelines – even Google themselves have only recently got most of their apps onboard, but now they’re throwing something completely different out there.

      I really like the current look/feel of Android. This new UI, especially in the Drive preview above, just looks like SO much space is being wasted.

      • joser116

        Yes. Those thick and colored top bars are also present in websites designed with Material Design. This has me worried. Hopefully they come to their senses by the time of release. Just look at all that space between the title and the hamburger menu icon.

        Also, they should totally make the bottom navigation bar in Android L transparent as default.

    • kleinerSK

      I am not very familiar with Android SDK, but I guess it’s not too hard to use standard design patterns. The point is, that standard Android was pretty ugly in common functions like buttons etc. so sophisticated app developers were forced to make their own way and / or streamline their app for all platforms (many premium apps started for iOS). And I guess many will stay on their own guidelines to ensure recognition value for all platforms.

      • Mike Reid

        Umm, Never assume devs jobs are easy, especially when you are not very familiar as you say. The stereotype of the “lazy dev” is mostly untrue.

        The rest of your post is right. Because Google didn’t even have design guidelines in the 2.3 GB and prior days, nor many of the fancy features needed, many devs DID “roll their own”, with much added work. Eg L has a new “ListView” replacement class that corrects many of the wrongs in the original ListView class, which will remain only for backwards compatibility.

        • Joshua Hill

          Thanks for the informative post. I know next to nothing about SDK’s in general, let alone the Android SDK.

    • Fragmentation is a myth

      Google Play Services – percentage of users on current version is somewhere over 93%.

      There is virtually no fragmentation in that regard…the form of which would affect the most users.

      The other (NDK) fragmentation is unavoidable with multiple OEMs/hardware compatibility.

      • Joshua Hill

        Totally agree, it is a myth but that doesn’t stop people believing in myths!

      • s2weden2000

        Yes.. the version of google play services/apps..not the version of Android..kinda different thing..don’t yA think

        • Joshua Hill

          Yes, that figure they posted was misleading and I don’t think they really understood my original OP. Not sure if they have a firm grasp of the English language.

          Despite that the effects on end users because of fragmentation is a myth.

          • s2weden2000

            I don’t need to…

          • Joshua Hill

            That’s your prerogative. The other poster did quite clearly state ‘The other (NDK) fragmentation is unavoidable’ and explains they think it is irrelevant. Maybe that was edited in later by them as I originally had your impression too.

          • s2weden2000

            I saw it when i read it..but i don’t agree it is irrelevant…

          • Joshua Hill

            In that case I personally feel you should have been more explicit in your post but it is only a comment forum so whatever :)

            Edit: damn it’s hard not to sound derogatory or dismissive in online posts which was certainly not my intention if it was perceived that way.

          • s2weden2000

            I thought i did with the post to the fragmented guy…

            It’s cool..no worrys :-)

  • monkey god

    The looks is very clean and easy on the eyes, but there is a lot of wasted space in some apps. For instance in the email app, there are less number of rows of emails you can see at once forcing you to scroll more to find the email you want. The rows are more spread out for readability.

  • MasterMuffin

    Goodbye Holo, we had fun. Just one word for the new design: beautiful

  • Andrew Glushchenko

    Hahaha, now all Android immediately think this new design( WP8 and iOS7’s copy) is beautiful. That’s annoying. Just be realistic, all companies steal from each other.

  • Filipino

    I think using bright colors, maybe is not the best choice in designing the new UI . I hope they have low tone ccolors like in the lg g3 and it would probably be perfect……just my opinion.

  • john alica

    I think it is totally based on battery http://bit.ly/1nJLh59

  • Clinton

    Couldn’t they have also made the Nav Bar Icons colourfull as well??
    I mean the shapes are fine ,but i think it would look better if it was filled with colour rather than just white border with black background. .

    • Joshua Hill

      Transparent to maximise viewable space. Don’t fill it with anything.

      • Clinton

        Like how they are in the home screen??

        • Joshua Hill

          Yes, I’d like to have that all the time, except when apps use immersive mode which hides the buttons and is even better IMO.

  • Mayank

    The apps that shown in this link for nexus 5 that they look after update…. Is these apps looks same in sony also after update that these all look in nexus

  • doode

    I think the developer release might just take me away from Custom ROMs for a while.

  • kalo88

    The problem is…. most apps just adopt whatever policy they want and very rarely look consistent. Some will follow this design but many wont.

  • s2weden2000