May 09 AT 3:25 PM Dustin Earley 16 Comments

Rumor: Google planning complete overhaul of home screen, notifications and more

android-magazine-spread Image via: lett -/\= with Creative Commons

According to a massive rumor report out of Android Police today, Google is experimenting with a complete overhaul of the Android home screen, notifications, multitasking and Google Now experience. Rumors like this have been floating around for some time now, but today marks the first time we get such an in-depth look at exactly what Google may be planning.

As Android Police states, all of this information is subject to change. Even today there seem to be reports that there’s still a lot of experimenting going on. With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown on what Google’s working on:

  • There’s a new navigation bar with a back, Google and multitasking button
  • Multitasking is going to be front-and-center
  • You can swipe down on the action bar of any app to enter multitasking
  • Open apps would appear as a stack of cards, not thumbnails
  • Gestures are everywhere
  • Google is experimenting with getting rid of the app drawer for an iOS style approach…
  • …but there would still be a “hotseat” to pin apps (also identical to iOS)
  • Widgets could be gone, or moved to a dedicated widget page
  • Notification shade will take on a Google Now look, with two sections for important and less important notifications
  • Google Now, instead of being to the left of your home screen, would be below
  • “OK, Google Now” works everywhere

As you can see, Google has big plans for the future of Android. It’s worth noting that these changes may be specific to the Google Now launcher. Would could mean even bigger things. Perhaps more interesting than this specific rumor itself is how it fits into the big picture.

If something like this were to come true, in the form of a Google Now launcher update, and the Android Silver rumors were to come true, we could see an entirely different approach to how the public views Android. Consumers would be able to walk into carrier stores and see a spread of devices from different manufacturers running the latest Google Now launcher, Google Camera, etc. They’d all feature the same experience across different hardware with prominent Google branding everywhere.

With how frequent these rumors are popping up now, we’d be shocked if Google didn’t have something to show at I/O this year. This could be one of the more exciting conferences in a long time.

Source: Android Police

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Tommy

    Really don’t want them to get rid of the app drawer. I don’t want that slop all over my home screens. I like having my widgets and short cuts there, and keeping the apps I use less often out of sight

    • Nate B.

      Let’s wait before we actually know what’s going on.

    • myname4

      “Widgets could be gone, or moved to a dedicated widget page”
      Someone at Google is a total iDi*t!
      App drawer removed?
      Someone at Google is a total iDi*t!

  • Dan

    Getting rid the app drawer would be a disastrous mistake. Screw iOS and its endless sea of icons on endless homescreen pages.

    • Dan

      Oh God I didn’t even read far enough to see the thing about no widgets. Sure, let’s remove ALL of the features that differentiate the Android UX from (and make it superior to) iOS.

      I call shenanigans, not buying these rumors.

  • Nate B.

    Sounds like they’re moving to a more responsive age of software. I can see and hear people complaining with similar iOS style, but I have a feeling it’ll be very different. Things are very subject to change. Let’s wait and see what’s concrete. I’m sure it’ll be a while until then.

    • Eli Gaffke

      Some of it is more responsive. That is for certain. Most of it is brilliant. Some of it sounds like the year and a half of Motorola was great, and we are seeing more of its influence. But not having widgets or moving them elsewhere is not responsive software, it allows things down.

      What I would like to see the way Samsung allows you to the indicator the pages on the home screens and in the app drawer to quickly get where you want.

  • runechemist

    If they do this to the home screen I will be more pissed off than anything. Why the he’ll would I want all of my apps on my home screen. I like being able to have all of my favorite apps and widgets on the home screen and my less frequently used apps hidden from sight. I always bragged about the way Google set up it’s home pages makes it better than ios, if they do this I will never update my android device.

    • Eli Gaffke

      And people that only know iOS when seeing it want to know how they can make their 5s do that.

    • Guest

      So you’ll stay with Android and be stuck with 2014 OS in 2020?talk about fragmentation

  • Eli Gaffke

    Some of these things would be improvements. But others would make it like iOS. Partial elimination of widgets, part of what makes Android separate from iOS.

    No app drawer I hate that in iOS. I don’t need everything on my screen, I only want the main apps available. But I want access to the ones I maybe use once a month.

    Cards for open apps, bleeh.

    Always on Google Now! Awesome!!! Now I just want to name it my own phrase. Kinda like S-Voice, but without out the suck factor and the ear piercing squelch when it doesn’t work. Notify me that I am turning my headphones up to loud and it might damage my hearing, but you can make sounds verging on being heard only by animals, thanks.

  • dbareis

    I would like the “permanent notifications” that apps put up ONLY to stay in memory to be able to take at most one notification line (for all of the apps), it should be possible to just display a list of icons and if you press them they go to the app etc.

  • craz

    Worse idea ever! “Google is experimenting with getting rid of the app drawer for an iOS style approach…”

  • Bryan

    This is all [email protected]#t, stupid rumors are just that, stupid rumors.

  • gmaninvan

    I really hope this isn’t true. The interface is well defined as is. It is crazy to think of this. It would completely alienate the Android faithful. Thank God for this party launchers

  • strawn_04

    The rumors about the so-called “Project Hera” (redesigning of apps) and the multitasking improvements do seem like welcome changes, should they be implemented. Ah, but the rumors of the replacement of the app drawer with an iOS-style grid? I know darn well how stifling iOS is given that I was forced into a catch-22 by AT&T back in 2012 (either get another non-Nexus Android device and risk not getting software updates in a timely fashion, or get an iPhone and risk being called an iSheep for spending a fortune… so, an *old* iPhone it was, to avoid that problem), so seeing that creep into Android as well would be, you guessed it, a HUGE mistake on Google’s part.

    Then again, as I’m typing on my Chromebook, I also find the Chrome OS desktop — one that’s plain, one that you can’t do anything to customize other than change the wallpaper — just as stifling in a way, so maybe Google just wants to make that so-called “simplicity” consistent across platforms… then again, the rumors about abandoning Java for HTML5+JS+Dart ( also suggest something major may be in the pipeline.