Since Matias Duarte joined Google, after having spent time developing the look and feel of the ill-fated WebOS for Palm, things started to change for Android. We saw striking new designs with Honeycomb and then more refined approaches with Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Last year’s Google I/O was one of the more exciting conferences in recent memory due to the introduction of Android L and Material Design. We’re fairly familiar with the idea of Material Design, with the key points being visual feedback when someone touches something, a layered appearance inside of an app to show different functions and something more warm and natural overall. As Google I/O got underway, there was a quite change made to Google’s Material Design guidelines; they want to see developers use it in other Android products.
For some time now, Google has been trying to change perceptions to one of a company becoming focused on design, and with Material Design, it sure looks that way. This year, Google opened a new sub-site, google.com/design and a ‘Welcome’ post basically hinges around Material Design and states that “in addition to all the guidelines and resources you’ve come to rely on, we’ve also released guides for TV, Auto, and Cardboard”. Google now has its own “look” and Material Design is very much at the heart of things. Previously, guidelines from Google only included phone and tablet apps, but now Google is offering up guidelines for Android TV and Android Auto, further cementing the fact that Material Design isn’t going anywhere.
For those wondering why so many Android fans go “gaga” over a new app update introducing Material Design, there’s a fairly lengthy video below explaining what Material Design is and why it’s such a good idea. At least in terms of usability, anyway. Google is also launching a Google Design YouTube channel, and it sure looks like 2015 is the year “of design” at Google. Larry Page famously asked everyone at Google to redesign all of its core apps and services in just two months when he retook control as CEO in 2011. Since then, Google apps and services have started to look similar, and act in similar ways, and Material Design is a new direction with all parts of Google onboard at long last.