While the tablet section of Android.com eventually returned, the incident did little to restore people’s confidence about the state of large screened Android devices. It took nearly a year for Assistant to arrive on tablets, while only recently did the Google app finally gain the proper Google Feed.
The Google Feed launched almost a year ago with a new focus on articles, news, and up-to-date topics. Previous proactive assistance features were relegated from the main feed to a secondary tab called “Upcoming” that featured reservations, package alerts, stocks, and more.
Over the course of the year, the Google app gained more tabs, including a Recents feature and Search shortcut, and a slight redesign to match Assistant’s new look. While these frequent updates were occurring on phones, tablet devices were left with the old design that featured only a single view where news articles, stock listings, and more were combined into one feed.
Sometime over the past month, the proper Google Feed began rolling out to tablet devices. As of late April, we still encountered the pre-Feed design, but this month we are starting to see the bottom bar design widely available on these larger devices. This includes the Upcoming tab and removal of the navigation drawer in lieu of a fifth More tab with settings and account switcher.
Meanwhile, depending on the tablet, what appears to the left of the homescreen differs. As of late April, the Pixel Launcher on a Pixel C began displaying the modified Google Feed spotted on Pixel phones. This includes a rounded search bar up top with Upcoming shortcut and overflow menu. Density-wise, this design switches to a single column from the previous two in landscape orientation.
On other tablets, like one running Marshmallow and that’s using the Google Now Launcher, a swipe to the right results in the animation seen below. Besides being delightful, this expanding visual actually works to seamlessly open the full Google app. This video was captured in late April, with the pre-Feed design visible at the end.
When loaded, users can no longer swipe left to return to the home screen as they are fully in the Google app with a press of the home button required to go back. It’s good that there’s finally Feed consistency across Google’s platforms, but that isn’t too reassuring for the future in light of more promising Chrome OS alternatives.