Google Maps cover

Android’s share sheet is notoriously slow and clunky, with Google promising a redesign that is “much faster.” The backend architecture needs a revamp, but the interface itself contributes to the problem. Google Maps is now rolling out a new sharing menu design that does a great deal to address the problem.

The “underlying data model” is one of the reasons that the share sheet in Android has been slow for the past several versions. Android engineering VP Dave Burke promised in November a redesign that is “much faster and nicer to use.”

There is a delay before all parts of the share sheet load. This often results in users tapping a sharing target only for them to inadvertently tap something else as the direct share contacts finish populating above the main menu of apps.

Back at I/O 2018, the revamp of Google News that features the Material Theme introduced a new sharing menu that gets rid of the vertical loading issue. This was achieved by leveraging one carousel for contacts, and another for apps and share actions. As such, there is no last-second loading to disrupt where people are tapping.

In Google Maps, this share sheet features rounded corners. A “To” field to manually enter a name, phone number, or email is at the top. Contacts are displayed next and a swipe to the right reveals a “More” list of people. Apps are underneath, with Maps noting what account you’re sharing from.

Above the share sheet is a card noting the place you’re sending — similar to the Google News story preview — as well as the ability to share more as part of the app’s built-in group planning tools.

We are seeing this new Share sheet widely available in version 10.6.1 of Google Maps for Android. This was likely rolled out via a server-side update as Maps is particularly prone to incremental A/B tests and tweaks to the interface.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: