Gmail, Meet, Drive and Docs on Android are getting a Material You makeover

Cisco’s Webex may soon upset a lot of people and that could be a good thing

Google has started rolling out its revamped version of Material Design, dubbed ‘Material You’, to its core apps on Android.

Material You is an update to Google’s ‘flat’ Material Design: now Google is rolling out the new Material You look for its Workspace apps on Android, including Gmail, Meet, Drive, Calendar, and Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

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Key changes coming to the affected apps include new-look navigation bars, improved floating action buttons, and a font change to Google Sans that should make reading text in smaller sizes easier.

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Changes like these are what Google hopes app developers will also adopt for their UIs through tools like its UI development framework, Flutter, which was updated this week with Material You support.

Google notes that the update brings extra goodies to Pixel owners with the forthcoming Android release that gives them the choice to match the colors of apps to the device wallpaper for a “more dynamic, personalized look”.

The new Material You look is available now on Gmail, Drive, as well as Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The refreshes for Google Meet and Google Calendar are coming on September 19 and 20, respectively.

The update brings some accessibility enhancements, too.

“Material You will automatically adjust contrast, size, and line width based on user preferences and app context. Pre-existing color schemes, for example color-coded file types, folder colors, or for in-app warnings, will remain unchanged,” Google notes in a blogpost.

The visual refresh is being rolled out to all Google users, including customers on Google Workspace, G Suit Basic and Business subscriptions.

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Not everyone cares about or even notices minute style and font changes in an app, but on apps that billions of people use daily, subtle design changes matter to lots of people. And it matters for software businesses too, where well-crafted UI and UX make a difference to user uptake, retention and ultimately revenues.

Google announced Material You at its annual Google IO 2021 conference. It justified the changes on the basis that people want more than functionality and an experience that also evokes emotion across multiple devices — from watches to phones, tablets and desktops — and varied geographies, cultures, and pandemic work environments.

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