Android Update

Google Contacts getting a large Material You homescreen widget

While we wait for YouTube’s to go back live, Google Contacts is in the process of getting a new Android widget that lets you more prominently place a person on your homescreen.

Contacts has long let you create three types of homescreen shortcuts: Contact, Direct dial, and Direct message. Sized like app icons, they feature a person’s profile image with the Contacts app badge in the bottom-right corner.

The Google Contacts app — which recently got its new icon on Android, Wear OS, and the Gmail side panel — is now adding a proper “Single Contact” widget. From the preview we have today, it will feature Material You’s scalloped shape and crop profile avatars accordingly. The top-left features a message shortcut in a rounded square, while one for calling (circle) is at the bottom-right. 

Given its shape, the widget will very much stand out and a nice level of customization would be the ability to choose what the container looks like, which is something Google Photos offers and Clock to a lesser degree. If there’s only one configuration, it bears some resemblance to YouTube Music’s Turntable widget. Overall, this could prove more useful than the system-level Conversations widget.

At the moment, you can long-press on the Contacts icon or go to the system widget picker and see Single Contact. Dragging and placing on your homescreen does open the “Choose a contact” picker, but selecting one just crashes the Pixel Launcher. Repeatedly trying to make Single Contact work gets you a system warning. This is occurring on version 3.80.24.x of Google Contacts and a hopefully the actual rollout is coming soon.

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