At I/O 2022, Google announced that it would be updating more than 20 of its first-party apps for large screens to show its commitment to the form factor. This will no doubt improve the experience for existing owners and aims to encourage other developers to do the same. Here are all the Google apps on Android that have a tablet update and what’s yet to come.
Google apps with tablet user interfaces
- Reverse chronological order, latest updates at the top
—Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides
Update 8/3: Google announced last week that Drive and Docs/Sheets/Slides are getting tablet optimizations. Some of the features have been rolled out, including the ability to:
- Drag images/text from another app (like Chrome) and drop them into a document or spreadsheet cell. Similar to Google Keep.
- In Google Drive, you can upload files by dragging and dropping them.
- You can open two instances of Drive side-by-side by opening a folder’s overflow menu and selecting “Open in New Window.”
- [Not live in our testing] “You can also add links to Drive files by dragging the file into an open app like Keep. »
- Physical keyboard shortcuts in Drive, Docs, and Slides to select, cut, copy, paste, undo, and redo.
Update 6/6: The tablet optimization announced for YouTube Music at I/O 2022 is now rolling out. He sees the Android app on large screens getting a revamped playlist view, which is a big part of the service. There is a two-column user interface where cover art and other details appear on the left and the song list is on the other side. [Update 6/30: The redesign was introduced to albums later on.]
This is just the latest tablet update for YouTube Music, with this team starting earlier this year on the Home feed to let you see more content in carousels (Listen Again, Your Favorites, Mixed for you, etc.) without having to scroll. Further optimizations exist in the Now Playing (two-column view with controls on the left and your Next Up Queue on the right) and side-by-side settings.
Update 6/3: Google Clock 7.2 starts by introducing a left side navigation rail on tablets which gives the app more vertical space accordingly. The other big change is the use of two-column layouts, in landscape orientation, throughout the application.
Update 5/25: Version 8.2 of Google’s Calculator app brings a two-column layout where you can always see your “History” calculation on tablets and other large-screen devices. Other parts of the user interface are reduced accordingly, which is particularly suitable for multitasking.
Update 5/18: Version 13.19 of the Google app allows Google Lens to open in landscape mode. The visual search tool was previously limited to portrait orientation on Android.
Google’s first tablet app on Android is Google Photos, and that update rolled out in January 2021. It’s not too different from the web UI. A navigation rail on the left edge means you can see a bit more vertical content, while more tabs can be displayed – compared to a bottom bar – without looking cramped. In addition to Photos, Search, Sharing, and Library, you have quick access to On Device, Utilities, Archive, and Trash. A little tweak that Google has been doing for the past few months is a pill-shaped indicator to note which tab you’re viewing instead of just highlighting the icon.
At the top of the screen, next to “Google Photos”, is a search bar with rounded corners. When viewing a full-screen photo, swiping up reveals a right pane while overflowing to the top right corner of the viewer shows actions with accompanying icons.
I’ve already voiced my opinion that Google Calendar is my favorite tablet app, mainly because of the great Day and Calendar views where you see the whole month on the left with a list of events next to it while illustrations animate the background. It doesn’t look like the company is considering any changes.
Although there is obvious re-use of the website, the Calendar team has differentiated the app for tablets considerably, and this is surprisingly a rare occurrence for Google.
Chrome on Android tablets is almost identical to the desktop interface considering the use of tab strips and the Omnibox layout. There is also support for multiple windows to make multitasking easier.
YouTube is pretty well optimized for tablets with two-column views throughout, and Google’s I/O preview only showed the player screen. He could always switch to a navigation rail.
Translate already has the touted tablet optimizations on stage. In general, it’s best for this app to be sparse and have plenty of spacing, given its nature as a (physically) shared interface/tool.
—Files by Google
Google apps getting more tablet tweaks
—Google Maps (see below)
Maps for Android already has a two-column view, but an upcoming update replaces the full-width bottom bar with one that slots into the left panel.
Future updates to the Google app for tablets
Google Translate: See above
- Cards: See above
Pictures: See above
- Family link: Instead of a navigation rail, Family Link seems to use an always-on navigation drawer.
- Google Residence: Centered navigation rail, although it looks ridiculous with only two tabs. A two-column layout might be better.
- Gmail: Navigation rail with a drawer button at the top to see your files and labels.
- GoogleTV: Navigation rail while you can distinguish the next News Feed Highlights as part of this larger overhaul of the Materials you’ve redesigned.
- Posts: Two-column layout, though it’s unclear if the UI pictured above is more geared toward foldables than tablets that require device pairing, like Messages for Web.
- Google One: Navigation drawer with heavy use of maps in the app body.
youtube music: See above Google Lens: Visual search today on tablets only works in portrait orientation.
- Google Duo: Centralized controls.
- Google Play: Like Photos, there is a navigation rail and a top search box. Cards are used to display various listings and promotions.
Google Calculator: Two-column layout. Google Clock: Navigation rail associated with a two-column layout.
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