In announcing that Keep is getting a Material You redesign, Google yesterday failed to mention that new widgets were also inbound. We’ve since enabled them, and they’re absolutely fantastic. 

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

The app redesign is pretty straightforward, and starts with a flat, pill-shaped search field that features a hamburger menu, list/grid view switcher, and profile avatar. That box and bottom bar are lightly themed, while there’s a new rounded square FAB that curiously retains the four-color ‘plus’ sign that’s disappearing everywhere else. Those are the main Material You refits in Google’s note-taking app. 

Widgets are the real upgrade here. Like in Google Drive, there’s an X-shaped “Quick Capture” that lets you create a new checklist, drawing, voice recording, or picture note. The latter now uses a more straightforward camera icon, while a plain text entry can be started by tapping the center.

This widget has to be at least 3×2, while the regular bar shape is still available. At 4×1, you get all five actions, but 3×1 gives you a homescreen item dedicated to just making a new note. 

Meanwhile, the Google Keep “Note List” might be the best Material You widget to date. The previous design just featured a top row of creation shortcuts followed by a simple scrollable feed. 

This redesigned widget is app-like in density‚ especially when expanded to take up the entire screen — which some people already do for Keep. Shortcuts are moved to the right with a prominent “add note” FAB in the corner. You get a list at the left that features rounded corners. At 3-wide, you lose the sidebar and get a proper, bottom-right FAB, just like in apps. It feels like you’re using a full-blown application right on your homescreen.

The Google Keep Material You redesign and updated widgets are rolling out with version 5.21.361.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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Abner Li

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