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Break down of Google Keep - This is in response to an article on Ausdroid, which can be found here: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/03/28/editorial-prediction-androids-next-iteration-will-emphasize-hybrid-card-layouts-other-subtle-design-shifts/

Google Keep is great - it is rapidly becoming my go-to app for notes, in place of Evernote. It looks great and some people (cough +Android Police ) have gone so far as to suggest that it is leading the way for a UI overhaul to come with the next major Android update. However, it isn't that far removed from the rest of Google's apps.

So, I'd like to pick Liam Spradlin's article to pieces (in the hope that it will be fixed) - because I ran out of room in the comments section of the website. And because I'm looking for an excuse to do something not-programming for a little while.

"For starters, there are several inconsistencies in UX – there's no overscroll glow within notes"
Actually, there is. If you take a look at the first two screenshots I took of Keep - both the editor and the landing page of the app have overscroll glows (they're highlighted in red, because they're rather hard to capture).

"Besides that, the action bar isn't actually an action bar"
This also has a screenshot to demonstrate that there is in fact an action bar, but it may take a bit more explaining. For starters, this program is showing a breakdown of the UI controls in an Android app (in this case, Keep) with a live (well, nearly live) screenshot of the app in question.
If we look at the very root of the UI layout, we can see that the Keep is in fact using an action bar - I've highlighted the top-level layout and also the fragment pertaining to the action bar itself (down the bottom).

So that's all well and good, but why isn't that significant? Well, if we take a look in the Android Developers reference, we can find this:
http://developer.android.com/reference/android/R.attr.html#windowActionBarOverlay That's been there since the action bar was first introduced, in Honeycomb. It's not the first time that Google have used it in their own apps, either - take a look at Maps!

Even the card-style that Keep uses is a simple extension of that which exists in other Google apps - Now being the most obvious of these.


That doesn't mean that Android hasn't got a UI overhaul in the pipeline - in fact, I agree that Google probably do have something up their sleeve (and I'm very interested to see what happens with Roboto Slab). However, I don't believe that Google Keep actually deviates as much from the existing portfolio as Liam seems to think.
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Thanks for the notes Michael. I think it's important for me to clear up, though, that I didn't intend to say that Keep alone was the driving force behind a visual overhaul, just that some of its elements suggest an imminent evolution.

The overscroll thing I may be mistaken on - on my personal device, overscroll glow doesn't appear on most notes. After playing with it, it seems to appear on some, however. I appreciate you pointing that out, and will definitely update the post.
Edit: Updated it with a brief shout out.

As for the action bar, I have no reason not to believe it is technically an action bar. I probably should have been clearer about this - what I found interesting was that it is the same color as the background of the app itself, and it only becomes obvious that it's an overlay when you scroll through content.

The cards do seem like an obvious call to Search and other apps, but I think that they (along with the Play Store leak) point to the use of new, different cards that are not purely for pre-loaded information. Keep has a card (visually, anyway) that actually acts as the controls for creating a note, and the Play Store has buttons that look like cards (or cards that act as buttons, you decide).

I don't mean to say that Keep is THE example of any sort of overhaul. In fact, I tried to emphasize the other points with Keep merely serving as one clue toward my hunch, but it does a few things in a way that's unique compared to other apps, and I think we'll see more of that.

Thanks again for reading and pointing all this out to me. I always like to hear more about the technical side of these things, since I tend to zoom in on the design side.
 
That's fair enough. I think Google is progressively making changes to roughly head into the direction you're talking about. I'm definitely excited to see what they pull out next.

When you test for overscroll, do the notes that scroll have a lot of content - do they scroll initially? I found that small notes (those that don't overflow my screen) don't have overscroll. I would guess that they are using this:
http://developer.android.com/reference/android/view/View.html#OVER_SCROLL_IF_CONTENT_SCROLLS

If you take a look at Google Maps, the same thing happens - the map is visible behind the action bar. Gallery is another app where this occurs in a similar manner (zoom into an image). It's not new, though it's perhaps less noticed.

Search, Google Plus, the leaked Play Store and Keep - I agree that cards are where Google are heading. I think this could be a nod to MS with their live tiles, maybe?

Thanks for the shout! I hope that my initial response wasn't too brash (I was going for informative, but probably got carried away). I'll happily continue to be informative about the technical side of it all.
 
Not too brash at all, I appreciate the feedback. And that might just be the answer re overscroll. I don't have any notes that are significantly long.
 
I noticed an interesting thing today, if you are running Chrome in Windows 8 mode and have the Google Keep page open, when you reduce chrome to 1/3rd mode the web page actually reduces fit the smaller screen properly, and functions like a native app.
 
Is that unique to Windows 8? Or does it occur with Keep on any desktop? 
 
Not sure, I don't have any other OS to test on.
 
I've tested with Chrome on the desktop and it does the same if the window is resized enough. I haven't used other browsers yet, though.
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