Want a preview of Material Design, Google’s new company-wide look? It’s going to make its proper debut on Android L this fall, but you can get a preview now on the web, as Google is rolling out redesigns of many of its most popular web apps, including Drive and Alerts.
Google started rolling out its Drive redesign last week, but it appears to be available for more people today, and I haven’t seen the new Alerts before. To take the new-look Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides for a test-drive, first you need to click on the upper right hand corner and click “Experience the new Drive.” If you’re not seeing the new design, check out google.com/docs, google.com/sheets, and google.com/slides, which are permanent new Google Drive URLs.
In addition to the flatter, more colorful design, a few notable aspects of Material Design have made it to Google Drive: there are now no more checkboxes. Simply click to select an object, and double click to open it. The sidebar can be resized, and it’s easier to select several files by clicking and dragging a mouse over them while holding the shift key. Certain screens also show the sticky round button that is a major focus of Material Design — in this case, it creates a new document. But in my opinion, one of the handiest changes is the default document view (“My Drive”) combines both docs you’ve created and ones others have shared with you.
Google Alerts has a purple splash across the top with a search bar to easily turn what you’re thinking about into an alert. Your saved alerts are below, with two easily-identified icons giving you options to either trash that alert or edit it. In general, the interface appears to be a lot more beginner-friendly than previous incarnations of Alerts, which were targeted towards power users.
Lower on the page is a new feature, “Alert suggestions,” which allows you to create an alert by clicking the “+” icon and is reminiscent of Twitter’s recommended follows: a lot of big companies, celebrities, countries and musical artists. They appear to be the same for different users, but I’d love to see suggested alerts based on what I’ve searched for in the past.