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July 26, 2021
🏀 Good morning! The best thing about Space Jam 2 wasn’t the movie, it was getting all the animated trailers for kids movies coming out. Not that I could, even vaguely, understand what was going on. Boss Baby Vs Ninja Babies? No idea at all. But it did look like good fun...
Bottom bar?

An ex-Googler has recounted why Chrome abandoned a mobile UI redesign, similar to what’s coming with iOS 15 Safari, years ago. 

  • In short, Chris Lee, working as Staff Interaction Designer at Google Chrome, in around 2016, advocated and headed up an effort to try redesigning Google Chrome on mobile.
  • It was called Chrome Home and it was something that made it into Chrome stable on mobile if you activated the flag, until it was pulled.
  • Lee says his pitch to try a new approach was two-fold: 
  • “1. Phones were growing in size, and we had the opportunity to innovate in creating a gestural, spatial interface that would still be usable with one hand.”
  • “2. Mobile Chrome was also growing in features — but because its minimalist interface kept everything behind a ‘three dot’ menu, these features were underutilized and hard to access.”
  • Ultimately, after a bunch of testing, Google “heard a mixture of reactions.” Tech geeks loved it, but: “…for some mainstream users, the change felt disorienting. Chrome serves billions of users around the globe with varying tech literacy. I became increasingly convinced that launching Chrome Home would not serve all our users well.”
  • Interesting. Chris Lee says he then advocated to drop it, and briefly mentions that Safari in iOS 15 looks like it has “similar ideas and criticisms.”

Safari iOS 15 beta:

  • Here’s MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci struggling to order food because the new bottom bar in the beta Safari version gets in the way (Twitter), in a video with 74,000 views.
  • YouTuber Quinn Nelson complained about the same a few days later too.
  • Which prompted people to speculate that there’s no way Apple will release it as is, or if Apple does, it’s going to create all kinds of fresh havoc. Especially hungry people hoping to add meals to their cart.
  • And asking the entire Internet to redesign mobile websites for iOS 15… probably not going to happen.
  • That said, given iOS 15 is a “fall 2021” release, most likely September, and it all being an avoidable problem, you’d wager on Apple changing its final design, rather than breaking everything.
  • Chris Lee’s gentle post about the Google decision not to launch tells us that he hopes so, too.
Roundup

📆 Motorola announces August 5 event, Edge 20 series expected (Android Authority).

Oppo Watch 2 leaks ahead of July 27 launch, but unclear if it’ll run Wear OS (Android Authority).

📉 Why Samsung phones failed in China: From market leader in 2013 to less than a single percentage point of market share. Samsung’s either top or second in most other countries where it competes (TechAltar/YouTube).

🥽 Oculus’ new experimental API blends VR with real-world surroundings (Gizmodo).

🏹 Robinhood’s IPO is this Wednesday, and the company’s unusual public IPO roadshow, broadcast over the weekend, had some odd stuff (“What’s your favorite planet?” was chosen as a question). What else? Retirement accounts via IRAs and Roth IRAs are coming (The Verge).

💵 As the US takes to the roads again (and, troublingly, avoids public transit), parking apps are cashing in (Bloomberg, $).

🔊 Acoustic tweezers can pick objects up with sound waves — without any physical contact (SciTechDaily).

🔴 Scientists just ‘looked’ inside Mars via a seismograph and found a large yet light core, and a complex, warm crust (Ars Technica).

🚁 Also on Mars: Ingenuity’s successful 10th flight means it’s now flown more than a mile in Martian air. It’s already lasted 76 more Martian days than its original mission (Gizmodo).

MLB will try encrypted transmitters and bone conduction to stop sign stealing (The Verge).

⚡ Researchers are testing magnetized concrete that could charge your EV while you drive (Engadget).

🔋 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS first drive review: “It’s a really big deal,” says this review (CNET).

🧬 Las Vegas police solve an old murder case using record-low volume of DNA (Engadget).

🚀 How bad is space tourism for the environment? And other space travel questions, answered (Vox).

🎮 “What video game would you wish to play again for the first time?” (r/askreddit).

Monday Meme

For your Monday, a classic Nathan W Pyle comic:

the incident

Enjoy your Monday!

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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