Back in August, Google announced a big redesign of Chat that adds Duet AI and other smart features, as well as audio huddles, to the work-focused messaging service. A new homescreen is core to this revamp, with the straightforward web version announced first. Last week, the redesigned mobile client was introduced with a new take on navigation for Google apps.
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Instead of a bar docked to the bottom of the screen, you get a pill-shaped container with four sections and a circular tab indicator, while there is a separate square button to the right. The different shapes are a bit jarring, with the floating action button (FAB) being taller than the pill for whatever reason. I’m also not a fan of both things being centered and would prefer the bottom bar being left-aligned while the FAB is positioned normally.
This design inherently does not support text labels under each tab. Thankfully, the Google Chat icons are pretty straightforward and representative of Home, Direct messages, Spaces, and Mentions. This, however, might not be the case for all services.
This new bottom bar floats and applies a translucency effect to content above/below and to the left/right. I assume the intention is to let users get a peek at what’s being covered by the bar, but it’s not a lot. At best, you get to see a profile picture and timestamp. I’d rather the new bottom bar take up more horizontal space.
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