In other words, Google is not so much pioneering a new style as showing us what digital design looks like when it's done right (…and by the same occasion, how much we all still suck at it!)
With the recent releases of their newer mobile apps, Google has started pushing a style that some describe as "almost flat" , or maybe "skeuominimalism" . Unlike the drastic visual wastelands of Gmail or Google Reader, this new style uses elements like shadows and gradients in a tasteful, subtle way.
This style offers the best of both world: realism's affordances and subtle hints combined with the purity and simplicity off flat design.
We still talking about the same company that was (in)famous for testing 42 shades of blue? The answer is yes.
And it is beautiful.
Now, when does this all translate to Android? Can't wait!