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Google reminds devs that the menu button is a dying beast

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Google reminds devs that the menu button is a dying beast
Since the launch of Android, the menu button has been a staple, right there along with the back and home buttons (and more often than not the search button as well), but with Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is on a mission to kill that button. And today, Google made an effort to remind developers of that. 

With Android 4.0, Google wants to push developers to not hide useful functionality in menus anymore, and so it has killed off the traditional "menu button" in favor of an "action overflow button". The distinction is a subtle one, and one that many developers may ignore and users may not need to understand. The idea is that any important features should be placed on the Action Bar within an app, and the less important features get relegated to the action overflow button. The trouble with this sort of semantic change is that while it may surface some hidden functionality in some apps, it will still likely be used to house the same options you'd expect to find in a normal menu button like settings, about info, and bug reporting. 

However, it seems that the aim of Google's reminder today is really to remind developers to update their apps and fix any legacy issues. Unless devs update, the new action overflow button will show up right next to the multitasking button, and sometimes it may not actually do anything if you tap it. And, Google's note today also serves to remind devs that they can use the new Style Guide and Action Button icons from the Holo theme.

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posted on 26 Jan 2012, 22:13 4

1. tuminatr (Posts: 861; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)

kinda gonna miss the menu button

posted on 26 Jan 2012, 22:38 1

2. codymws (Posts: 237; Member since: 17 Jun 2010)

I think this is a good idea. There have been so many times when I've been looking for things, only to find it hidden in the More section of the Menu button.

posted on 26 Jan 2012, 23:07

3. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


posted on 27 Jan 2012, 00:52 2

6. G2Noobin (Posts: 81; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)

yes agreed but come on its the menu button...i never use the search button its back home and menu...or just make the menu button the over flow button.

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 00:30 3

4. Nathan (Posts: 85; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)

I always use the menu button, and I rarely use the search.

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 00:51 1

5. G2Noobin (Posts: 81; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)

Hunh wuwhaaaat (8-() wtf.....why. Nerd of google please explain!

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 07:35 1

7. fervid (Posts: 183; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Are they trying to look like Windows Phone so they get sued by Microsoft now or what? That really sounds exactly how the overflow stuff in Windows Phone works where it slides up the extra menus at the bottom. Only thing missing is hiding names of the buttons until the ... are pushed/slid up.

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 08:06 2

8. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

I like the menu button...

Well, luckily with custom ROMs we can probably hold on to it a little longer even if they do take it away.

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 09:46

9. roscuthiii (Posts: 2241; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

I wonder what George Carlin would have to say about going from "menu" to "action overflow button"...

An action bar just sounds like something to take back the screen real estate that was gained with the removal of physical buttons.

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 09:51

10. McLTE (Posts: 922; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

This article does a much better job of explaining what PA tried to..


posted on 27 Jan 2012, 10:20

11. jamrockjones (Posts: 345; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

I like the menu button too. And I love the search button. I'm always holding it down to use voice commands.

posted on 27 Jan 2012, 16:35 1

12. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

Viva la menu button!

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