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Google Play’s Material Design Makeover, That was Shown at Google I/O, is Underway

During Google I/O 2014, we saw the beginning of a new set of design guidelines take shape in the form of Material Design. Google wants all of its products across all platforms to look a certain way, with layers, depth, motion, and even a sense of texture or the feel of touch as you swipe around something like Gmail. But even though Material Design was unveiled, the only instances of it in the wild at this point are some of the stock apps built-in to the Android L preview. We have yet to see Google give us fully redesigned Maps or Hangouts or Calendar apps. Sure, Google+ saw a massive redesign a couple of months back that took on parts of Material Design, but it even has some work in front of it to look like what was shown at I/O.

Thankfully, they gave us all sorts of glimpses of the current work being done to Gmail and even Google Play. The Gmail mini-preview was shown during the keynote, but if you looked at the specific developer sessions for Google Play and Material Design, you got an entire preview of what the new Play store is going to look like. From the massive content being displayed in backgrounds or at the top of listings, to the simpler layout that feels less cluttered, to sharing and purchasing buttons being easily identified, this is going to be a major change. 

If you jump to the 12:30 mark in the video below from that I/O session, you will see the new Google Play in action on tablets, phones, and in the browser. Or if you don’t have time for that, the header image at the top of this post gives you the new Google Play in all formats. Pretty cool, right?

new google play5

According to the folks over at Android Police, Google is already testing a Google Play build with partial Material Design on devices. I would imagine it is being dogfooded internally, so no, you won’t be able to grab an apk or install it early. Instead, the screenshots they have seem to show Google taking baby steps towards making Material Design a part of Play. You will see bigger content, but then also the familiar green buttons in apps pages. There is going to be a bigger contrast on pages with white backgrounds and black text, along with bigger, more obvious share, +1, and wishlist buttons. Maybe this will be Google’s attempt at taking us through this massive overhaul one step at a time, or maybe this build will never surface publicly. It’s tough to tell.

Again, check out the video below to see where we will eventually be, likely this Fall.

  • B. Alvn

    It’s pretty clear that at the time of the conference anouncement that it is still largely Vaporware and the details aren’t ironed out yet. Google has a long history of keeping things in Beta for ages and ages (hey, isn’t Gmail still in beta…?) as they slowly, incrementally improve it. I remember one of the guys talking about their strategy of “seeing what sticks” too….so they will keep this in beta while they see what sticks in the world…it’ll be 2016 until it’s fully done.

    So….I’m happy to have a Chromebook that updates itself regularly…this way, I will always be seeing the latest and greatest. But, i’m glad i’m not a developer at this point in the game!

  • Michael

    As shown on the image on top of the article with a Chomebook, two Android tablets, and an Android phone:
    Yes, Chrome OS/Chromebook users are going to see Material Design on the Google Play Store.
    And yes, How To Train Your Dragon 2 will look more f*cking awesome with Material Design on the Google Play Store.
    Feel better?

  • tylerc23

    Why did they use an iPhone as an example???

  • Allyn K C

    I will be curious if they truly update all of their apps to Material Design. There are a handful that haven’t been touched in years. For example: just look at Google Finance, it has a UI more reminiscent of Froyo (among other shortcomings of the app). Hopefully they will do a 100% refresh of all their apps, or start killing off some of the older ones that appear to have basically been abandoned.

  • Wall Breaker

    HTC Seemed really excited about Material Design from their Google + and twitter posts. Hopefully other OEMs *cough*samsung*cough* will start to adopt MD into their UI design.

    • rawr

      With the news that sales aren’t as fantastic as before for Samsung, and Google pulling them in closer with Knox being donated to Google and Google not playing favorites with Moto anymore, I think Samsung is going to start playing Google-ball.

    • ceejw

      HTC is probably happy they won’t need to change a whole lot. Sense 6 already looks a lot more like Material Design than stock Kit Kat does.

  • Octopus


  • Chris

    Much needed make over. The current design is a bit ugly Imo.

  • Daistaar

    Kind of weird that Bill Murray’s cap exceeds the screen real estate. I love that the notification area overlays the video but that’s clearly a mock up image of what it’s gonna look like and not something actually running.

  • Stewblock

    +1 for Wes Anderson.

  • I like it and can’t wait.

    • gg_money

      my body is ready

      • picaso86

        My soul is ready.

    • TornyiBarnabásazIsten

      Yes you can.

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  • David Foggia

    Wow when does it start rolling out for the people with the developer preview ?

  • chris_johns

    well…kinda a big turn around from that nice dark halo design from ics…i wish they had an inverted option…gonna be a while before devs can invert these bad boys

    • I stopped the inverted apps thing after ICS. It just doesn’t look good anymore.

      • gg_money

        me too, i just dont feel its needed anymore

    • Octopus

      I don´t like dark halo design.

  • MistaButters

    While it does look pretty, for apps there is a TON of wasted space.

    • Larry Simpson

      Dude it’s not final by any means. Read the Android Police post.

    • jabarri2

      negative space isn’t wasted space.

      • cns2007

        Thank you. Whitespace is very much a design choice I’m sure.

      • MistaButters

        Sure. But look at the Vevo & Phantogram ones specifically for tablet on the Android Police source. On a tablet you could make such better use of the space.

        I know it’s still in development (thank you to everybody that reminded me), but it just seems like with the current tablet layout, they are choosing form over function big time.

        • jabarri2

          i’m guessing you mean here ( http://cdn.androidpolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/nexusae0_wm_0.png )

          I can see what you mean, but what is important to google right now is keeping the design language consistent across all screens and all orientations. Sure there might be a little extra white space here, but if you add content to the “empty” areas then flip the device back to portrait what happens? where does the info go? does it get pushed down, is it only visible on landscape, how do you decide what info is important for landscape, what’s important for portrait, do we lose users focus by switching content based on screen orientation etc etc.

          Reasons like those are probably why they left it that way. There are too many variables and if you start substituting content or over complicating it, then you’re missing some of the best google material features.

          • MistaButters

            Yeah I get that, and I know they are trying to have consistent behavior between all screen sizes, and I know that implementing consistent design brings up a laundry list of design questions you have to answer, but it seems like on larger screens the functionality may take a back seat to form.

            I’ll save my final thoughts until it is finalized. And no matter what, even with wasted space, it’s still a lot better looking that the existing play store.

          • jabarri2

            thats for sure!

            I personally don’t really care for the large image in the BG of everything, if anything is wasting space its that section, it offers nothing to the user and looks boring and with something like vevo it is VERY bright on a large screen

          • san q

            Yea maybe show like a slide show of imagery … Like Netflix on the consoles

    • Chris

      It’s still in development

    • B. Alvn

      It’s probably not wasted on a 3 inch cell phone screen though….and it sure is nice to easily hit the buttons after that 3rd cup of coffee…big buttons are pretty nice.