Google is known, perhaps notorious, for constantly trying out new features with a small group of users – this is especially true for the numerous Android apps. In most cases, users have no control over these temporary changes, but there are exceptions. One of those exceptions is Google Labs, which has some experimental features that can be activated by any user.
The Google app for Android is constantly conducting experiments and test runs, which at times can take on such dimensions that the likelihood of using the exact same interface on two devices is quite small. This ranges from simple design adjustments to unavailable functions to completely changed navigation. Who doesn’t remember that the main navigation consisted of three entries, four entries or even five entries?
Here’s how you can use it
In an area introduced last year, Google gives all users the opportunity to decide on such experiments themselves – but only to a very limited extent. In the area Google Labs two features are currently available that are not really relevant for use, but can be activated and tried out in just a few steps. You can find this area directly in the settings of the Google app under the menu item “Labs” – look at the screenshots below. Two features can currently be activated that would not be usable without this manual activation: On the one hand, the possibility to zoom the search results and, on the other hand, a feature that brings the Google doodles directly into the search bar. As I said, both are not really relevant, but it’s still good that you give the users control.
If you have activated one of these two experiments, it should not be necessary to restart the smartphone or close the app. In both cases, you have the opportunity to send Google feedback and rate the feature. It is questionable why such rather unimportant things are placed in the labs area and major changes are simply rolled out without announcement and the sometimes suffering users are not given the opportunity to hide this. Just keep checking back, because maybe one day you will find an exciting entry there. The zoom experiment has been running for almost a year now, the doodle experiment for a good nine months. At the beginning there was a new screenshot editor, which as far as I know was rolled out to all users shortly afterwards. What is now described as a success is difficult to assess from the outside. » Android: New Google app ‘Device Utility’ causes trouble – should be deleted again after a few steps
» Pixel Launcher: ‘At a Glance’ widget integrates with Nest Video Doorbells – shows alarm and thumbnail
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