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Well this is an interesting change for Google. The company is one-by-one rolling out updates to its in-house Android apps that include splash screens. These screens (screenshots via a user on Reddit) are displayed during the 2-3 seconds between tapping an appsí icon and the app actually loading. Google Steps Up Android Branding Splash Screens [9to5google.com]
Itís an interesting change particularly because Google was in the past very adamant about developers not using splash screens, but rather displaying a non-functional, or blank, UI to make it obvious that the app was open and loading.