9to5Google has a rebooted newsletter that highlights the biggest Google stories with added commentary and other tidbits. Sign up to get it early in your inbox, or continue reading 9to5Google Log Out below:
Tomorrow is April Fool’s and it’s a good bet that Google, after a three year absence, won’t be participating.
- 2017 | 2018 | 2019
Google once called April Fool’s a “tradition and a time to celebrate what makes us an unconventional company.” That formal description came in 2020 when Google decided to call off the festivities “out of respect” for the global pandemic.
While April Fool’s wasn’t the biggest way Google expressed whimsy, it certainly felt like a pillar alongside the dessert naming scheme used for the world’s biggest operating system.
Of course, that went away in 2019 for a more formal “Android” + version number. In retrospect, it was incredible that a major piece of software was named after KitKat and then Oreo. It added an absolutely extra (and by definition unneeded) dose of whimsy to each year’s launch. But it did get people talking, and there was value in that. Maybe not enough to justify keeping the tradition, but it did contribute to a sense of fun.
I’d argue that the experimentation done in one-off apps also contributed to the whimsy. (The original Spaces tool comes to mind for some reason.) Area 120 served that role for some time, though it stopped doing more consumer-focused apps towards the end, and the group is now entirely done for. One criticism of these “random” apps has been a lack of focus, but people find new apps exciting to explore, especially free ones. It’s a shame that Google no longer has a division dedicated to letting those experiments get out there.
Google still has Doodles on the Search homepage and Chrome New Tab Page. That’s unlikely to change given the cultural significance the themed logos have taken, while Google Search is home to a perpetual parade of Easter eggs. Looking at the rest of the company, the most recent and promising example of whimsy is Dynamic Color.
We’re a few years into it now, but having your phone take after your wallpaper is pretty delightful and unexpected the first time you use it. It’s playful and a good differentiator for Google’s platforms as it expands beyond Android phones and tablets to Chromebooks, Wear OS, and other form factors. Even if Dynamic Color just remains the realm of system UI (and first-party Google apps) there’s enough consistency there to set apart a Google OS.
Google’s hardware teams are also not afraid to offer products in fun colors. Offering a yellow (Lemongrass) and blue (Fog) Wi-Fi router is pretty unique when you consider how unnecessary it is in the grand scheme for the device. The same can be said of Pixel Buds Pro with its tiny circular surface area that’s barely visible, but something you’ll always see (and enjoy) as you take the headphones out of the case.
Other highlights include:
- Froggy from Google Weather on the Android app and Nest Hub clock face
- Calendar’s monthly illustrations in the Schedule view
- How the FAB in Google Keep for Android expands when you create a new note
- Emoji Kitchen
- The smiley face when you have over 99 tabs open in Chrome for Android
- Easter eggs in Google Maps, including the ability to change the design of your car in navigation mode
- Google Photos Memories can be awe-inducing
- Tap-to-pay transaction animations in Google Wallet/Pay
This is the new 9to5Google
Here’s the UI for podcasts in YouTube Music [Gallery]: Podcasts will be a top tab/mood filter
- Google Podcasts reaches 500M downloads: There’s a path for this app to have a future
Google Home testing redesign for ‘Device controls’ on lockscreen
Here’s everything new in Android 13 QPR3 Beta 2 [Gallery]: Hmm, two-week gap
Google Voice finally gets Material You redesign on Android: It’s at least modern looking now…
Review: Boox Tab Ultra does its best to prove e-ink Android tablets are capable
Video: What is next for Google Tensor?
Sundar Pichai: AI to build Assistant’s original vision of ‘your own personal Google’ is here
Google starts letting the public test generative AI in Gmail and Docs
Foldable smartphones set to surpass 20 million units shipped in 2023
Samsung Galaxy S23 series now receiving substantial camera update
GM EVs dropping Android Auto (and CarPlay) in full Android Automotive embrace
Pixel Watch Battery Saver QS toggle, Google Clock update rolling out$50 discount ends on Sunday
From the rest of 9to5
9to5Mac: WWDC 2023 confirmed for June 5 to June 9: iOS 17, Reality Pro headset, and more expected
Electrek: Ford reopens F-150 Lightning orders as production (and prices) ramp up
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Source : 9to5google.com