Google recently ran a promo for it’s Maps service under the “MapsAtTheMovies” hashtag but their clever Forrest Gump – Streetview-parallel went largely ignored due to what was shown in the first quarter second of the video. Or more accurately, what was NOT shown. As the promo begins, viewers are greeted with a typical stock Android homescreen, except it is missing the app drawer icon we have all become accustomed to.
Soon as the video was posted, every corner of the Internet, from Twitter to Reddit, lit up with “WHERE IS THE APP DRAWER?!?!” and “IF THIS IS WHAT I WANTED I WOULD BUY AN iPHONE!!!” as hundreds of voices cried out: #notmyandroid. So is this just a simple mistake in the editing? A preview of an update incoming for the Google Launcher? Or possibly a permanent change to be introduced in Google “Nutty Spiced Ricotta Pie” (What? It could be called that!). The point is, we don’t know; no one outside of Google does. But this is the Internet so of course the race to be the loudest person in the room with zero evidence to back up the noise is well under way.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) February 26, 2016
The app drawer has been a distinguishing feature of Android from the beginning so banishing it would definitely be a major change to the core experience that a lot of us are used to. But we also know that Google loves to test ideas and features, many of which improve from feedback or never make it to final software (hello multitasking). It is also important to note that this is just an ad and is meant to focus on a few core Google services instead of necessarily showing an accurate representation of the OS (note the black bar at the bottom that no-one seems to be throwing a fit about). After-all, most of the demonstrations we are fed in commercials are altered, exaggerated, or outright contrived.
There is one group however, hoping against all hope that this not a misunderstanding and the app drawer is indeed meeting its demise. Those happen to be developers making replacement launchers for Android. I imagine plenty of people will be hitting the Install button on Action and Nova Launchers if this consternation comes to pass. So even if this paranoia does become a reality, the overreaction is hardly necessary due to the customization Android allows. Don’t forget the old aphorism borrowed and improved upon from the iPhone ads: “There’s an app for that.”