Google reportedly planning major overhaul of its Android and web apps

by: Andrew GrushApril 3, 2014

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?

  • Mhmd Ahmd
  • Msan

    Looks a lot like Sense.

    • MasterMuffin

      It does make sense, sense has become good looking

  • Danny Blaney

    i really hope these are fake. They look absolutely awful.

    • somedudes

      they always have to fxxk with the design constantly , really annoying ebay is the same constantly fxxxxxg with the design , you think you know where everything is then a week later its all been redesigned , the same with supermarkets , i think a lot of it is just boredom they have nothing else better to do.

      • Replace the X’s with your 25-digit product key. :)

        Just kidding.

    • Mason

      I was hoping it was still April fools day so I did not have to believe that.

  • thartist

    Beauuutiful!! Besides, add some color to KitKat and OEMs might strafe further away from slapping their own onto stock UI. Though i see how this may end towards Fisher-Price, reminds me of the windows XP discussion.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Am I the only one thinking this could be part of the next android version as well?

  • Groud Frank

    It looks gorgeous! Flat is where it’s at. It goes way beyond just giving a universal feel to Google Apps. The internet, operating systems, 3rd party apps are all going flat. The best looking apps and best looking websites are almost all flat. Just look at Android Authority; no trace of skeuomorphism. Android and Google Apps will fit right in, if these rumours are true.

  • Heisenberg

    Please no more Google+ integration and flattening of everything.

    • somedudes

      i refuse to have google+ on my phone , on the pc its fine but it just wipes out your battery and quite honestly i found it no use at all.

      • sluflyer06

        then your doing it wrong. G+ doesn’t hit my battery at all nor does it for my friends. There’s nothing about G+ that would ever run in the background unless you’ve got something like auto backup set to always sync. I have it set to backup only when I hit Wi-Fi which means it only backs up when I get home. Other than that G+ doesn’t request location services or anything like that.

  • Komero

    Google, what are you doing?
    Google STAHP

  • Ahmet C.

    Hey Google! Redesign the Google Play Website and make it useful this time.

  • Ziich

    lets not forget the newsstand update which looks pretty nice as well

  • Andreas Elf

    Flat and clean design on touch devices is nice. But don’t do anything stupid with the websites. Just look at what Microsoft tried to do with Windows 8. It’s a disaster on PC’s.

  • Zarabanda

    The UI for utilitarian applications, such as nearly all of Googles apps, and especially a platform UI (like Android Holo), should not feature bright colours. Colour can be used to group objects by function or even indicate classes of function (as was done in XP). However, colour is also very much a matter of personal preference. I hate orange. If you make an app with an orange UI, you will make me very unhappy and want to switch. Colour demands attention. The UI should only require enough attention to be usable. No more. The UI should be neutral and recede so that it is subordinate to the content and not competing with the content for attention. I think Windows 8 took a real turn toward the less-usable through its heavy-handed use of bright colours. They also clash with each other in the UI, as well as the application content in Windows 8. Bright, bold colour is risky.

  • Teh

    Saw it when first rumors of project Hera hit the web. Its hideous and I’d like to never have to use it on my device. I prefer black white blue stylistics that we have now.