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New Home Media Cast Control UI Steps Away From Boring White Design

RANSFORD ESSUMAN

Sept. 21, 2019

There's a new UI on the way for the Google Home application's cast controls that's going to make the app much less bland. A leaked image of the new UI as it currently exists in testing was recently shared on Twitter by Jane Manchun Wong. The image showcases a definitive step away from white-on-white design toward more appropriate theming.
The layout also appears to remove several elements, so it isn't likely final. Regardless, it will bring consistency to the overall media playback interface for Android.
The Google Home app's new cast UI is much less bleak
In terms of the overall design, the new UI for cast controls in the Google Home application falls in line with Material Design standards. It centers around the standard solid-colored background and places a media card over top.
That card is designed to align with whatever media is playing at the time. So, in the leaked example, it's created from a zoomed-in and blurred out a piece of art matching the associated album. In this case, that gives it an almost solid red look. At the center of that is a copy of the album art itself. During movie playback, that would likely show a film's poster or box title art.
Song title and artist are stacked just below the album art. A slider sits just below that for navigating through the song, similar to the slider on a YouTube video or in a standard music app. Below that is a Stop/Play button.
The bottom of the playback card is separated by color. In this case, it's white. That will probably change based on night mode settings in Android 10. The receiving Cast-enabled device is featured there in a title font and accompanied by the song title and the source. Finally, there's a drop-down chevron-based menu to the right for more options and another slider for volume control.
When will this arrive for everybody?
The new interface for Google Home's cast controls is a clear step away from comparatively blank controls seen in the current iteration of the tool. The home automation and casting tool presently only shows a solid color with a very utilitarian aesthetic. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be for everybody.
Traditionally, major UI changes that move elements around and alter interactions do not sit well with end-users. The lack of clear access to a "stop casting" button, for instance, may prove to be a sticking point for some users. Others might disapprove of the movement of volume controls and there's a chance there won't be any way to navigate directly to the source app from the new controls too.
There is a good chance the final UI won't appear as it does in the shared image either. In all likeliness, this is a narrow test of the interface to gauge how well it works and garner feedback from users. So Google might tweak things quite a bit before releasing or not at all. That also means there's no guarantee this will land for any given user any time soon. There's no way to accurately guess a timeframe for release if and when it does.
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