Dieter Bohn and Ellis Hamburger writing for The Verge:
When Page took office, his first directive was clear. “Larry said ‘hey everyone, we’re going to redesign all of our products,’” recalls Jon Wiley, lead designer on Google Search. Wiley and co had just two months to give Google a fresh coat of paint, and to start thinking holistically about how Google as a whole was perceived. “We had a mandate to make this all look good,” Wiley says.
I would just add that, as Steve Jobs said:
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
And there is a lot of emphasis on the “looks” of things in the article and video. That said, the new Google Maps on iOS are great, better than Apple’s.