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Top 12 Google Apps Recently Updated for Android Tablets

We list top 12 Google apps that have been updated recently to suit tablet interface.

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Google announced at I/O 2022 that it will be updating more than 20 first-party apps for large screens, showing its dedication to improving the user experience. This will not only benefit current users but will also serve as an incentive for other developers to follow suit. Thanks to the folks at 9to5Google, we now have a timeline of Google apps on Android that have received updates.

12 tablet-optimized Google apps in 2023

Here’s a list of Google apps that have been recently optimised to fit Android tablet UI and improve overall user experience. The updates will improve app functionality and design. Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the updates that have already been launched and what users can expect in the future.

Google Play Store

Google has made some changes to the Play Store before a major redesign. The navigation rail is now more compact, which has resulted in larger app icons. However, the carousels will eventually be replaced by cards. The corner logo and search field have also been made more compact by Google Play.

Play Store
Image Credit: 9to5Google

When browsing search results or suggested downloads in apps, dual-column layouts are used. A complete redesign of the Google Play store for tablets and foldable devices is planned for 2023. This redesign will show app screenshots, videos, and descriptions directly in the Apps and Games tabs/feeds. Developers should update their listings in advance of this redesign.

Google Photos

Google Photos is the leading tablet app for Android, and an update was released in January 2021. The app’s user interface on the tablet is similar to the web version. The navigation rail is on the left side of the screen, which allows for more vertical content to be seen.

Image Credit: 9to5Google

The app also has additional tabs that can be easily accessed, including On Device, Utilities, Archive, and Trash. A small tweak Google made is a pill-shaped indicator that shows the active tab.

Google Chrome

Google recently announced a new Tab Grid feature for Chrome on Android tablets. The interface is similar to the desktop version with tab strips and an Omnibox layout, supporting multitasking with multiple windows. You can now switch between tabs quickly with a gesture that allows you to swipe across the Omnibox. Additionally, you can set the browser to load the desktop version of websites by default. Tab Groups will also be available soon for large screen devices.

Google Weather

The Google Weather app has several useful features. On the sidebar, you’ll find a 10-day forecast with information on high/low temperatures and weather conditions. You can also use the search bar at the top to find weather information for other cities.

Google Weather
Image Credit: 9to5Google

In the “Now” section, you’ll see an animated mascot named Froggy, who reflects the current weather conditions with animations like a shining sun or moving clouds. This section also includes the “feels like” temperature. Below that is a 24-hour forecast carousel with information on current conditions like wind, humidity, UV index, pressure, and sunrise/sunset times. Next to that is an hourly breakdown of precipitation, wind, and humidity.

Google Home

Google Home is in Public Preview, and currently uses a Material You navigation rail with pill-shaped indicators. The text label of the current tab is displayed. In Favorites and Devices, Google uses a three column layout for tiles. However, a fourth column could be added for the Edit/Add favorites view. Automations and Activity use a stretched out, single column layout. The Settings column has not yet been optimized with sufficient left/right padding. No new information or facts were added.

Google Home
Image Credit: 9to5Google

The Google Home app made some changes to its tablet UI while exiting preview. These changes include organizing the contents of each tab in a container and adding a secondary navigation drawer when viewing Spaces in the Favorites tab and in Devices. Although most views are optimized for tablets, there are still some issues when navigating various device menus which need fixing before the stable launch. Additionally, the preview on iPad uses a bottom bar which is less optimized compared to other tablets.

Google Drive

The Google Drive layout now includes a navigation rail with four tabs and a “Create” floating action button. The remaining two-thirds of the screen is occupied by a search bar, while the top-right corner displays your account avatar and settings. The overall appearance closely resembles that of the desktop website.

Google Keep

In September 2022, Google announced a new layout for Keep which shows your list of notes and their contents side by side. However, this view requires a larger screen and has only been seen on Chromebooks so far. However, the redesign is now widely available and includes a button to quickly switch between Full screen and Dual pane views.

Google Keep
Image Credit: 9to5Google

You can also open notes side by side in a new window by long-pressing on them, and there is a Single note widget available.


With the latest update of Gboard (version 12.3 beta), the tablet layout has been improved to better fit larger screens. When in landscape mode, the keyboard background and keys are taller, creating a more natural and less elongated phone experience.

Image Credit: 9to5Google

Additionally, new keys including Tab, Caps Lock, Hide Keyboard, and Left/Right arrow have been added, while some keys have been rearranged.

Google Docs, Sheets, Slides

A new feature has been added to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (version 1.22.342.08.90+). You are now able to open multiple instances of these programs side-by-side. However, the process to do so is a bit manual. Firstly, you must open the first document and then return to the Docs/Sheets/Slides app. After this, you can launch the second document using the system Recents multitasking menu. Finally, drag the first file from Recents to initiate split-screen. Note that the process is not as simple as clicking on Drive’s “Open in new window” button, which has been recently renamed to “Open in split view” (this feature only works on folders).

Google announced that they are optimizing Drive and Docs/Sheets/Slides for tablets. Some of the features have already been rolled out, and they include the ability to:

  • Use the drag-and-drop feature to insert images or text from other applications like Chrome into a document or spreadsheet cell, just like you would in Google Keep.
  • Uploading files into Google Drive is also possible by dragging and dropping them.
  • To open two Google Drive instances side by side, select “Open in new window” from a folder’s overflow menu.
  • Additionally, it’s possible to add links to Drive files by dragging them into an open app like Keep (though this feature isn’t currently available in our testing).
  • Finally, physical keyboard shortcuts are available in Drive, Docs, and Slides, allowing you to select, cut, copy, paste, undo, and redo tasks.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music has now launched the tablet optimization that was announced during I/O 2022. The Android app on large screens will have a redesigned playlist view, which is a crucial aspect of the service. The new design includes a two-column UI where the cover art and other details are displayed on the left, while the song list is on the right. The redesign has also been introduced to albums.

YouTube Music

The YouTube Music on tablets includes improvements made by the team earlier this year. The Home feed now displays carousels for Listen again, Your favorites, Mixed for you, and more, so you can see more content without scrolling. Additionally, the Now Playing view has a two-column layout where controls are on the left and the Up next queue is on the right, while the settings are displayed side-by-side.


The latest version of Google Clock (version 7.2) now has a left-sided navigation rail on tablets, which provides more vertical space. Additionally, the app now uses two-column layouts when in landscape orientation.

Google Clock
Image Credit: 9to5Google


The latest update for Google’s Calculator app, version 8.2, adds a two-column layout for tablets and large screen devices. This layout allows users to view their calculation history at all times, while other parts of the user interface are condensed. This feature is ideal for multitasking purposes.

The Bottom Line

These are just a few examples of the updates that Google has made to its apps for Android tablets. Other apps such as Google Play Book, Maps, Contacts, Meet, and more have also received optimizations and improvements.

With these updates, Google aims to provide a seamless and enjoyable user experience on Android tablets. By setting an example with its first-party apps, Google hopes to inspire other developers to optimize their apps for larger screens as well. As more apps embrace tablet-friendly designs, users can expect a better overall experience on their Android tablets.



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