Google reportedly planning major overhaul of its Android and web apps

April 3, 2014
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gmail new features

Yesterday we reported on a leaked set of screenshots that reportedly come from a yet-to-be-released version of Gmail. The new images not only show off a much more colorful and flatter look than we’ve seen with Gmail up until now, the app also had several new categories for better organization and a hamburger menu button that was out of place compared to existing Google apps.

This may be the beginning of a major overhaul effort from Google

While we still can’t say with any certainty whether the above images are legit, a new report from 9to5 Google claims that their sources suggest that this is just the beginning of a major “Google 2.0” overhaul effort from the company.

Reportedly Google will be bringing redesigned UIs and more colorful looks to all its core apps, and not just on Android. This new design language will permeate throughout Google’s web apps, iOS apps and beyond. The goal of the redesign will be to focus on full page content, while moving extra clutter out of the way.

Why the change? Reportedly this move has at least partly to do with new voice and wearable initiatives like Google Now, Google Glass and Google Wear. It’s also about bringing a universal look and feel to all Google apps, regardless of what platform or size of device you find them on.

How plausible is this idea?

It’s no secret that Google has worked hard to bring a uniform look over to its apps, particularly on the Android front. This effort has also included getting as many developers as possible to fall in with Google’s design language. With all the time invested, a major overhaul like this sounds a massive undertaking and one that could throw a wrench into all the progress Google has already made when working with app developers.

Of course, having a uniform experience for all of its apps makes sense, especially considering the wide range of devices that Google apps can be found on. Perhaps Google feels that this is worth the extra effort that would be required? We really can’t say for sure just yet.

A major overhaul like this sounds a massive undertaking and one that could throw a wrench into all the progress Google has already made

Is there any possible evidence of this change outside of the above screenshot and other rumors? A little, but not much. First, Google has been focusing on de-cluttering for a while, and KitKat’s immersive mode takes a further step in that direction by offering a distraction-free full-screen mode.

Aside from this? There’s Google Keep. While yesterday’s Keep update doesn’t see nearly as big of changes as you’ll find in the Gmail screenshot, it does add a yellow action bar and other minor UI tweaks — which could be a hint at more changes to come. Or it could mean nothing. Bottom-line, we’d take this whole rumor with a hefty dose of salt at least for now.

We’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled for more information about this rumored overhaul, so be sure to stay tuned to Android Authority. What do you think of the alleged Gmail app update, would you like to see this new style applied universally to all Google apps or not?

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