Google Now Launcher Now Includes Vertical App Scrolling

Android M Preview 2 App Drawer

The latest version of the Android operating system called Marshmallow is probably getting released on September 29 along with a couple of Nexus devices, since the company scheduled an event on that date. While Marshmallow doesn’t bring many changes regarding the visual elements of the UI or changes of its functionality, there are some significant improvements. With every Developer Preview version, we get closer to how the final version will end up looking and working. By now, we pretty much many of the aspects of Marshmallow.

A notable change of the UI is the way the App Drawer works, as instead of swiping left or right to see more apps, users will now get a vertical list of icons sorted alphabetically. On the first Developer Preview, some space was wasted because the letters were listed on the left side and only three columns of apps were visible, plus they were separated by each letter so if users only had an app that started with a certain letter, two spaces were left blank. This was fixed on later versions of the Developer Preview, now accommodating 4 columns of icons and no more space is wasted between the rows. Additionally, a green colored scroll bar is visible on the right side and by pressing it, users can scroll faster to any given letter.

The Google Now Launcher has been here for a while, allowing devices with custom ROMs to look a little more like the stock version of Android that is in use on Nexus devices. Users that use the launcher will see that the app drawer now scrolls vertically just like in the Marshmallow UI, including the white background that we’re now becoming more used to. The four most recently used apps are still shown on the top of the icons and there’s a search bar on top of the app drawer to look for a specific app using the keyboard. Interestingly, this was part of the recent update of the Google App as the icon of the Google Now Launcher still sports the lower case “g” from the old Google logo. This update also includes an easier way to access the search bar for the apps, users just have to long-press the app drawer button and the keyboard will automatically appear to start searching for a specific app.