It’s a problem with which smartphone home screen wallpaper aficionados are all too familiar: a veritable deluge of wallpapers to choose from, but a dearth of quality ones. Sure, you might stumble upon a ZIP file chock full of quality scribblings every once in a while or a well-curated storefront here and there, but acquiring wallpapers is a generally arduous undertaking. It’s a process, in fact, that can take almost as much time as choosing one.
Well, Google’s here to help. On Thursday, the Mountain View, California-based giant released a new app for Android, Wallpapers, that packs an extraordinary number of illustrations, images, and photography with which to spruce up your mobile.
In terms of functionality, Wallpapers is relatively bare bones. It’s in essence a curated portal: open the app and you’re presented with dazzling collections of satellite imagery from Google Earth, a Google collection drawn from its topographical mapping service; landscape photography from partners like 500px; architectural highlights by city, region, country, and continent; a variety of textures and materials; and artwork of a generally abstract nature. Every wallpaper in the collection includes an “explore” tab that provides details on the artist, and, if applicable, the location.
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If you’re the indecisive sort, there’s an option to set a live wallpaper that’ll rotate the artwork on your device’s home screen every day. And if you’re lucky enough to have a device running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, you can set different images for both your home screen and lock screen.
If all that sounds a little familiar, that’s probably because Google’s Pixel phones ship with a similar set of wallpaper customization tools. In fact, the new Wallpapers seems almost identical in appearance to the Pixels’ artwork picker, down to the Wallpaper app’s “live wallpapers,” or animated artwork of the Earth from outer space, solar phenomenon, and scenic vistas.
That last bit’s a tad unexpected: Google has previously implied that live wallpapers would remain exclusive to its newly-launched Pixel smartphones. “Wallpapers serve as the very first touchpoint for users and help establish a premium experience and build an emotional connection,” Google wrote in a blog post announcing live wallpapers. “For the Pixel, we wanted to design an experience that was both inherent and unique to Google.” But the surprise is a welcome one — in this writer’s opinion, the search giant’s live wallpapers are by far the collection’s most entrancing.
The new Wallpapers app is available for download from the Google Play Store. It’s compatible with Android devices running Android 4.1 and above.