- Google Drive’s new UI makes file search easier and faster by switching to a denser list view in the Suggested tab, displaying information like the file name and type more prominently.
- The Notifications tab has been replaced by an Activity tab, which serves as a comprehensive hub for all document activities, including comments and access requests.
- The new design is being rolled out for the Drive app on Android and iOS, but the availability will increase gradually because this is a phased rollout.
Google has spent the better part of 2023 giving Workspace products like Slides, Sheets, and Docs a healthy dose of AI-powered features. Now, the company has shifted its attention to Drive, another critical component at the center of its Workspace products. We recently reported about Google adding a new option to filter files by the mentioned collaborator using a new People drop-down. This addition to the UI is just one of the many changes Google had in store, because a new UI for the mobile app is rolling out now.
Google Drive’s Android app UI has remained fairly untouched for the last few months, with the only noteworthy changes being a tablet-friendly rearrangement of the buttons, and a Material You update for the web UI. Last week, we reported on a few quirky additions in the Android app, such as an odd floating action button (FAB) to launch the camera for document scanning stacked atop the New + button replacing the + FAB in the lower right corner. Google has now announced these changes officially alongside a few other tweaks, which should help people who use the app frequently.
Suggested documents are packed closer together
Google says its new UI is designed to make file search much easier and faster. To this effect, the Suggested tab, which opens by default, has switched from a thumbnail view to a denser list view. Thumbnails aren’t any good with Docs or Sheets anyway, and an icon now tells you the file type, while other info like the filename and edit date is displayed more prominently. With more files visible at once, you won’t need to scroll as much if you’re revisiting something you edited recently.
The activity tab is a hub for everything that’s changing in your files
Secondly, Google has replaced the Notifications tab in Drive with a new Activity tab. While the former shows all the activity on your documents in order of recency, the latter is a comprehensive hub for everything, like recent comments and pending document access requests. The new design also replaces the sole drop-down menu for filtering the alerts with several chips such as Access requests, Approvals, etc., all arranged in a horizontally scrolling carousel. The FABs mentioned earlier are visible on this screen as well. Additionally, Drive will remember the last-opened tab in the bottom bar and default to it when you reopen the app, instead of using the Home tab as default.
Google started rolling out this new UI design for the Drive app on Android and iOS on November 6 and November 10, respectively. However, we anticipate a phased rollout, and it may be a while before you see the new design on your devices. Like most other UI changes, this one isn’t limited by account type, and everyone with a Workspace account or personal Gmail ID should see it.