Google’s big-screen optimization push continues with the search app adopting a navigation rail on tablets, although this is clearly the early days.
The latest beta of the Google app – version 13.46 – is moving to a navigation rail. Without the bottom bar, you can see a bit more of the Discover feed, as well as search results.
However, it is not a Material You (MD3) element because the icons for Discover, Search and Collections do not use a pill-shaped indicator, which is also the case for Google TV today. . Your current tab is simply highlighted in blue instead of gray. The three elements are positioned roughly where you would place your thumb instead of being exactly top, bottom, or even aligned in the center.
Meanwhile, there’s quite a bit of padding between the navigation and the start of the content. This might need some tweaking in future releases. For comparison, the Google app on iPad uses a bottom bar.
It’s a good start, but more tweaks and UI optimizations are needed. We previously activated an M3 redesign of the Google app which should also apply to the tablet layout.
Google Podcasts already offers a two-column layout (although a Material You bottom bar is used), while Lens supports landscape orientation. More recently, Google Weather got a similar update after working only in portrait mode.
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