Thoughts on the connected future.

Material Design Specification

Google’s new Material Design guidelines introduced at this year’s I/O are extremely well considered and presented. This is a big step forward for Android, and hopefully inspires widespread adoption across third party apps.

This is the first time Google has really developed a ground-up framework for design across Android products. Prior to this, Android has been a mess of different design concepts meshed with maintaining legacy interface ideas. We can finally see the fruits of labour that Matias Duarte has been injecting into Android over the past two years, it’s all coming together in this Android L release.

Particularly impressive are the fluid transition animations between screens. I’m looking forward to seeing this in action on a device.

A big profile on Google's Sundar Pichai

Pichai:

After a few executive shake ups at Google, it’s no coincidence that there’s a lot more press on Android’s new chief Sundar Pichai. There’s more pressure on Google following Apple’s stellar iOS 8 announcements and even Microsoft showcasing a big 8.1 update earlier in the year. 

We usually see Android updates later in the year. Based on Pichai’s quote it’s going to be different this time.

Android Wear should get a lot of air-time, especially in light of Apple’s seemingly pending announcement of the supposed iWatch. Nest’s announcement of an API and ecosystem is a clear indication that Google will compete with Apple’s Home Kit, so expect to hear more about that.

We’ll also likely see the next version of Android for phones and tablets as well. It’s going to be an exciting event.

I don’t connect with a lot of people. I’m kind of a weirdo. A mistake for me to be tangentially involved with anything social.

Sergey Brin when asked about his company’s social products. Is this the eulogy of Google+?

Google made a self-driving car, and it’s totally adorable.
This car has no steering wheel, no pedals, no brake. It’s a prototype of a car they hope will be common place in a few years time. Sergey Brin imagines an Uber-like service where you request one of these cars via an app, and it arrives to you empty and ready to go. 
Oh, and it’s purely electric too.
I’m excited to never buy a car again.

Google made a self-driving car, and it’s totally adorable.

This car has no steering wheel, no pedals, no brake. It’s a prototype of a car they hope will be common place in a few years time. Sergey Brin imagines an Uber-like service where you request one of these cars via an app, and it arrives to you empty and ready to go. 

Oh, and it’s purely electric too.

I’m excited to never buy a car again.

Steve Jobs loathed Google at the time of his death

Brad Stone:

At the time of his death, Jobs had come to loathe Google, which he felt was copying features of the iPhone while withholding a key feature of Google Maps that allows smartphones to dictate turn-by-turn directions aloud. Jobs also discussed pulling Google search from the iPhone, but figured that customers would reject that move, according to two former Apple executives.

We knew that Jobs wanted to go thermonuclear on Google, but Stone provides some insight on just how far he was prepared to go to nix their services completely from the iPhone.

Microsoft Launches So.cl - a Social Network For Whom?

Hot on the heels of Google’s red hot social network Google+, Microsoft has also decided to dip it’s toes with a new product trendily named so.cl

The first question I asked myself when I read the news was - why?

Microsoft already has a strategic alignment with Facebook to do battle against the forces of Google. They have made a good chunk of change based on Facebook’s IPO. It would make sense to foster this relationship with a strong partner rather than go at it alone with the quiet launch of so.cl.

Speaking of Google, even with their strong online clout with heavily used products like Search, Maps and Gmail, they are finding it difficult to get a foothold into non-geek markets. If you didn’t realise, my opening quip was in sarcasm. A quick browse over there would reveal that it’s a network made up exclusively of social media evangelists and software engineers.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my Xbox and I’m lusting after a Lumia 900. But Microsoft’s own social network just doesn’t feel right, especially with the subpar product they have revealed. It’s just not ok to launch half-heartedly in an already crowded market with well established players, not to mention upstarts like Pinterest. No mobile app is also a big question mark on how serious Microsoft really is with this project.

Microsoft, like Google, obviously understands the importance of socially infusing your products. They recently added social recommendations to Bing search results. This seemed like a great move as they use various social networks as a source, in comparison to Google Search which detrimentally emphasizes Google+ results, fueling strong criticism

Perhaps if Microsoft had a strong product at launch it could make some sense. However so.cl seems confusing at best, and infuriating at worst - with your search query being posted straight to your profile.

In context, the following tweet could be seen as an insult to the WNBA.

Android 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’ preview - Android for tablets

The above video is Google’s CES presentation of it’s next version of Android, which is optimised for tablets. 

It looks pretty awesome, Google is really rethinking how a user interacts with a larger screen mobile device.

nerdcast:

rafer:

Gmail in mobile Safari: now even more like a native app - Official Google Mobile Blog
Rafer sez:Apps really aren’t necessary at a UI level. Good sofware engineering plus offerings like Sencha are making it clearer and clearer. Let’s pick away at the rest of the app process until it’s gone, and we’re back to the web.

Unless the web can ping me a message saying I have new mail, I”ll stick with the native apps. The new scrolling speed in the Gmail mobile page is pretty sick, though.

Apple will never allow for web apps to have access to the API’s that would allow that to be possible for that very reason, it would diminish the value of their App Store.

nerdcast:

rafer:

Gmail in mobile Safari: now even more like a native app - Official Google Mobile Blog

Rafer sez:
Apps really aren’t necessary at a UI level. Good sofware engineering plus offerings like Sencha are making it clearer and clearer. Let’s pick away at the rest of the app process until it’s gone, and we’re back to the web.

Unless the web can ping me a message saying I have new mail, I”ll stick with the native apps. The new scrolling speed in the Gmail mobile page is pretty sick, though.

Apple will never allow for web apps to have access to the API’s that would allow that to be possible for that very reason, it would diminish the value of their App Store.

1 of 3