September 27, 2023

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Redesigned Google Messages home screen drops navigation drawer [U: Tweaks]

Redesigned Google Messages home screen drops navigation drawer [U: Tweaks]

Google is redesigning the main screen for Messages in an interesting way that replaces the navigation drawer and introduces the main branding in the Android app.

Update 7/19: We’re seeing a redesign of the Google Messages home screen again with beta 20230717_01_RC00. There is now an App Bar with a darker shade of Dynamic Color instead of the top section being completely flat.

We don’t see the Messages Foundation, which has reappeared for beta users, enabled by this revamp. Meanwhile, Google has slightly tweaked its search filters. This new look has not yet been widely released.

Original 6/13: Instead of a full-width search bar, you’ll just get a magnifying glass icon. In the top left corner is the four-color Google “G” logo followed by “Messages.”

The navigation drawer and its hamburger icon have been removed with these options now in the Account menu. Archived, Spam and Blocked, Mark all as read, Device association will appear first, with your data unchanged in Messages, Message settings, Help and Feedback. Meanwhile, Google has moved “Choose Appearance” to the Settings menu.

Messages gained a navigation drawer in early 2022 after only making use of the overflow menu. At the time, this was seen as bucking the design trend of recent Google apps.

old vs. new

A simple change to search has Google dropping the Categories circle for a standard grid that requires less scrolling: starred, images, videos, places, links, unread, known, and unknown.

The Messages navigation drawer was inefficient, with only a few items, and superfluous compared to apps like Gmail (with its long list folders and labels), as well as Calendar. This account list approach, which has also been adopted by other first-party apps such as the Google Play Store, is much more efficient. Additionally, the full search bar, while a staple of Google Apps, wasn’t superfluous either.

What’s most interesting to me is the “G” logo in the upper-left corner which serves as a very explicit Google branding that indicates how the company wants you to message it. It can be seen as part of Google’s ongoing RCS campaign.

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We see this home screen redesign rolled out with build 20230608_01_RC00 from Google Messages released yesterday to beta channel. This redesign isn’t widely available yet, but it looks like a definite update.

old vs. new

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