“Experience Material You on Google Drive’s Web Interface – Live Now”

Google Drive Gets Material You Design on Web Interface

Google’s evolving Material Design philosophy is almost omnipresent in the best apps on Android. Although we are now practicing Material Design 3, we haven’t seen significant related visual changes make their way to the web interface of most Google apps. Earlier this month, things started changing for the better, when Google updated Docs and a few other services with Material You design on the web. Things are now looking up for Google Drive.

A Revamped Interface

Google’s cloud storage platform, Drive, has used a plain and cluttered-looking web interface for years, and it was starting to look rather dated. For my colleague Manuel, the new interface wasn’t available yesterday, but is on full display today — typical behavior of a phased account-based rollout. The new interface appears more spacious, and better laid out, although Google hasn’t moved things around much.

Old Drive web interface (Left); New Drive web interface (Right)

The new Drive web interface shrinks all the buttons down to a smaller size, with just rounded corners instead of C-shaped sides. Document previews have also been reworked, so the title sits atop the card instead of under the thumbnail. Lines demarcating sections in the user interface have been replaced by overlapping cards too.

Interestingly, the button to add new documents to the cloud storage is also more rectangular than pill-shaped. The Plus icon inside it has ditched Google colors in favor of a black and plain look — perhaps to help it play nice with dark mode. Also, Google has renamed “Trash” to “Bin” in the left-hand sidebar, though this could be a regional change.

Consistent User Interface

Similar changes are also afoot in Docs, Sheets, and Slides on the web — Google’s equivalent of Microsoft’s Office suite, which was recently tipped to receive ChatGPT-like AI prowess. It is a visual treat to see Google making a conscious effort to ensure the user interface remains the same across operating systems.