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Besides being powered by Dark Sky (now WeatherKit), the iOS 16 Weather app is gorgeous with animated backgrounds that reflect current conditions and a card/grid-based UI. In comparison, the comparable weather experience on Pixel phones just got a dark theme, though purely due to a bug (we think) that also broke the ability to swipe between the tabs for Today/Tomorrow/10 days.
Behind the scenes, this “Weather” experience is powered and updated by the Google (Search) app. (This is similar to Google Podcasts and Lens, though both those “apps” offer better, more modern experiences.)
Google Weather is simply old. It got a Google Material Theme redesign just as Material You was widely rolling out in 2021.
On Pixel phones, that experience is what opens when tapping the temperature in At a Glance or the homescreen widgets. It’s simply not good enough, and the team behind the Pixel software/OS experience needs to make their own.
From Samsung to Nothing, other Android OEMs offer their own weather app. Nothing is an especially good example, with its app fully conveying its unique design language for a consistent experience.
The Pixel team needs to do the same as checking the weather is a vital experience on today’s phones. It’s important – sometimes critical – information to have as you go through the day, and needs to be displayed in a UI that’s simple and reliable.
A Pixel Weather app could also be a good design playground for Material You and tablet/foldable UIs, while there are opportunities for exploring what an assistive weather experience (e.g., custom notifications tuned to your temperature preferences) would be. Meanwhile, I was skeptical initially, but Apple News articles occasionally appearing in the iOS Weather app for related events can be pretty useful.
In terms of precedent, the Pixel team has experience with Recorder, Personal Safety, and Bedtime Mode (before it became widely available). Somebody at Google also took the time to create Material You weather widgets that remain exclusive to Pixel phones.
Even if Google Search were to entirely revamp1 the existing Weather offering, I still think the Pixel should have its own app that’s unique. This experience should not be an afterthought, but rather something that’s crafted.
1 The phone experience should take inspiration from the Weather application available on Wear OS 3. This watch app is simple with a single feed for current conditions, 8-hour and 5-day forecasts, and sunset/sunrise. It’s complemented by Tiles for Forecast, Sun, and UV Index, as well as a pair of complications. Google needs to add wind conditions and ability to see other cities, but it’s otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a highlight of Wear OS 3.
Google Play requiring watch apps to be updated for Wear OS 3 by August: Good requirements and modernizations.
Xiaomi may be preparing a new Wear OS 3 smartwatch: With Samsung, Fossil Group, and Pixel, I don’t think Wear OS hardware is going to stagnate anytime soon, but having another big player would help ward that off.
A trio of small updates for Google’s communication clients:
- Contacts feed highlighting upcoming birthdays with ‘For you’
- Messages rolling out vertical photo picker gallery
- Phone app rolling out new calling screen with bottom sheet redesign
Google Fi drops US Cellular as an official network, but service still accessible
What (else) is happening:
Face/Off (sorry): Meta targeting 2025 for glasses with ‘viewfinder’ display and neural interface smartwatch + Samsung files trademarks for ‘Galaxy Glasses’ AR/VR headset and ‘Galaxy Ring’
Now do a new Moto Krzr: Motorola confirms new Razr foldable set for release ‘very soon’ as it shows off ‘Rizr’ rollable concept
Could be promising: YouTube Help forum disables posting and new comments, changes planned
Video: Nothing OS 1.5: Top new features in Android 13 for Phone (1)
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