This post was published 4 years, 6 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some material it contains may no longer be applicable.
The ageing News & Weather app (also known as the ‘Genie widget’) has pretty much been untouched since it debuted with Android 2.1 Eclair on the Nexus One, despite having been preloaded with every Nexus since and remained a part of AOSP. I had long assumed the app had been abandoned, but gladly I was wrong!
Today everything has changed as for the first time since its release it has received a major update which totally redesigns the app from a Eclair-era zombie to a material design beauty!
The app has a completely new interface, new icon, some new features and new widgets. It is a complete overall while maintaining the name and the core functions of the old app we know well. Here is the official changelog:
• Enjoy news.google.com personalization by signing in with your Google account
• Tablet support
• Expand stories for snippets and related articles, including genres E.g. Opinion, In-depth
• Navigate sections via the menu or simple swipes
• Change editions for news in different languages and countries
• Weather and local news for multiple places
• New resizable homescreen widget
To see how big this change really is, (especially if you are not familiar with the old app) take a look at the comparison below:
This app has gone from one of the glaring stand-outs in Google’s efforts to unify their visual style to something which showcases their latest and greatest in design and fits right in-line with the upcoming guidelines for Android L.
One puzzling thing about them choosing to update the app now though is how this really fits into Google’s collection of apps and services. It seems to have a bit of a crossover with Google Play Newsstand and to an extent Google Now.
While I like all of these apps in their own right I feel it might be better if they were consolidated into fewer apps rather than having several which overlap in function.
Anyway, you can grab the new version of Google News & Weather from the Play Store right now using the widget we have included below.