Skip to main content

Google just redesigned one of its biggest apps, and it’s bad

Google Chat app on the Play Store.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Google Chat — Google’s business-oriented messaging platform that is similar to Slack and Microsoft Teams — just got a big update for its Android and iOS apps. The update dramatically changes how you navigate the app and, uh, well, it sure is something.

Google Chat’s mobile app used to be broken up into two pages: Chat (direct messages between you and other users) and Spaces (larger chat rooms for multiple people). As with most apps, you switched between these with a navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.

A screenshot of the new Google Chat app as of November 2023.
Google

The new Google Chat app now has four navigation buttons. These include Home, Direct messages, Spaces, and Mentions. Plus, to the right of these is another new compose button that lets you quickly start a new message.

But that’s not where it ends. The screenshots of the new Chat app show what it looks like when you’re using Google Chat through the Gmail app. And with this setup, you effectively get two sets of navigation bars.

A screenshot of the new Google Chat app as of November 2023.
Google

The four new buttons (plus the compose button) appear as floating bubbles above Gmail’s own navigation bar — which has three other navigation buttons. The hamburger menu is also still there in the top-left corner for more navigation options. This, dear reader, is not what I’d call organized. In fact, it looks pretty darn messy.

While this floating navigation bar is only rolling out to Google Chat, it does raise the question of whether this is something Google will implement in other apps down the road. Could we see a similar approach come to apps like Google Messages, Google Maps, YouTube, etc.? If it were to look anything like this, I sure hope not.

If you use Google Chat, Google says the redesigned app is rolling out for Android and iOS “over the next few weeks.”

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
How to save text messages on iPhone and Android
iMessage on an iPhone.

We receive a lot of important information via text. Whether it’s a date you need to set or important work-related info, you might find yourself wanting to save a text message. Modern smartphones all offer a way to back up your core data and transfer it to another device. However, transfers sometimes don’t include your text messages unless you save them ahead of time or are transferring across the same mobile operating system.

Here's how to save your text messages in Android and iOS.
How to save your text messages on iPhone
There are multiple ways to backup your iPhone text messages. Here are the easiest.
How to make iPhone text message backups using iExplorer
The most universal method of saving your iPhone text messages is via the iExplorer program.

Read more
Google is launching a powerful new AI app for your Android phone
Google Gemini app on Android.

Remember Bard, Google’s answer to ChatGPT? Well, it is now officially called Gemini. Also, all those fancy AI features that previously went by the name Duet AI have been folded under the Gemini branding. In case you haven’t been following up all the AI development flood, the name is derived from the multi-modal large language model of the same name.

To go with the renaming efforts, Google has launched a standalone Gemini app on Android. Moreover, the Gemini experience is also being made available to iPhone users within the Google app on iOS. But wait, there’s more.

Read more
Arc Search is one of the best iPhone apps I’ve ever used
Using Browse for Me feature in Arc Search browser.

It’s 2024, a year when generative AI chatbots are browsing the web for us and presenting answers that are essentially a summarized version of the information hosted on different websites. The approach is convenient and saves us the hassle of visiting multiple ad-ridden, tracker-happy websites to find the required details.

Yes, a wall of information isn’t the most pleasing way to find answers, especially when these AI-generated summaries could result from hallucinated misinformation or sourced from garbage content-farm websites. Thankfully, the likes of Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Copilot now provide citations, but tests have proved that these summarized answers are still not perfect.

Read more