AI Experiments

AI Experiments is live.
https://aiexperiments.withgoogle.com

There’s a bunch of amazing experiments on the site; but this one below is the one I spend the most time with during its early development phase.

Honestly; I never felt more out of my depth on a project than at the beginning of this one. Sat in the kickoffs with Alex, Kyle and Yotam who were deep in the weeds talking about t-SNE, dimensionality reduction, hi-dimensional space, convolutional neural networks, and supervised vs un-supervised learning. Was a full-on nose-bleed, crash course, in ML. But so worth it. Do not fear this stuff. It’s a different world to start; but after a few weeks it starts to take. So please enjoy….

The Infinite Drum Machine
https://aiexperiments.withgoogle.com/drum-machine

Sounds are complex and vary widely. This experiment uses machine learning to organize thousands of everyday sounds. The computer wasn’t given any descriptions or tags – only the audio. Using a technique called t-SNE, the computer placed similar sounds closer together. You can use the map to explore neighborhoods of similar sounds and even make beats using the drum sequencer.

Here’s the explainer video:

For an extra sneak peak into the development process; here’s a video showing an earlier prototype. This one has around ~40k short samples from Freesound! For the final version we licensed ~17k.

This is one of the last projects I started working on in New York, so it’s great to see it out in the real world. Mad props to Alex, Catherine, Manny, Yotam, Eric, Jonas, Kyle, Gene and bunch of other very smart people.

And yea…. what Kyle said.

AI Experiments website:
aiexperiments.withgoogle.com

Meet Gboard: Search. GIFs. Emojis & more. Right from your keyboard

In 2014 a few of us had been talking about future surfaces and interfaces. There’d been some conversations about text as interface and other stuff. We’d played with the idea of using the keyboard as a space to try a little hack. But nothing had bitten, so we put it away in the top drawer.

In 2015 another project we’d been working on inspired a few people to take a fresh look. They made a Spark Card (a one-page slide that summarizes an idea) for a Google powered keyboard and called it Gboard. We sketched design concepts. Made mocks and thew together a quick prototype. People were into it. So we made a shiny deck and site, put a bow on it, and gave the idea to Google.

We then paused everything to focus on creating a new brand system for Google. You can read more about that here – but it meant we were heads down and went dark for months.

howitworksXL
Early concept sketches
tricks-XL
Early concept sketches

During that time a team in Mountain View starting looking at making a keyboard for iOS. Google had a great keyboard for Android and wanted to make something for iPhone users. We started talking and soon a small team from Creative Lab were out on the West Coast for a design sprint.

In a few months we had builds ready for Teamfood, Fishfood, Dogfood and shortly afterwards a production build ready to ship. We got our final Apple approvals and on Thursday May 12th we flipped the switch…. Gboard was live in the AppStore.

Google announced it:

Shared the videos on YouTube:

Press starting talking about the features:

gboard_gif_googleInYourKeyboard
Google in your keyboard
gboard_gif_regularSearch
Search in your keyboard
gboard_gif_emojiGifSearch
Emoji search, GIF search, Glide typing

And people seem to like it:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early results look good:

– #1 in App Store
– 4.5★ rating from 3,500+ reviews
– 350k downloads on day 1 in US

I’m happy with this one. A new product from beginning to end, and supporting launch comms. A small team with a wide skill set came together to make something great. Love that. It would’ve been impossible to get it done without an amazing team. You know who you are. Thanks for the big effort. And to everyone who’s still reading… download, install, enjoy, we hope you like it.

Get it now in the App Store in English in the U.S., with more languages to come.

Links:
Apple AppStore
Official Google Blogpost
Launch Video (1.2m views)
YouTube Series (395k view)
Instagram Social Video (89k views)

More Reading:
Turning User Hacks into Product Insights (Great insights)

 

Introducing my latest project: Google’s New Logo & Identity

GoogleLogo-Animated.gif

Most of the stuff I work on is confidential so I don’t get to share it publicly—but my last project could hardly be more visible. I’m not going to write lots about it as there’s already plenty of coverage out there. All I wanted to say is that it’s the meatiest (and most rewarding) thing I’ve ever tackled. We kicked the project off in January 2015 with ten people in a room sketching ideas. By the end of August we had over 200+ engineers, designers, writers, product managers, and marketeers preparing to flip the switches on over 30+ product updates. As well as the product updates and a ton of guidelines and toolkits – we also made this Google, Evolved video, a Google Doodle for the occasion, and shared the thinking on the Official Google Blog.

Everything went live on September 1st 2015.

Bonus: we also broke down the process + thinking in much more detail over on the Google Design Blog post  If you’re into how things get made you should definitely take time to read it. You’ll get a better understanding of how the process worked, why the system & framework were designed to hold together, and what we wanted to reflect in the brand by making Google more accessible and useful to our users—wherever they may encounter it.

Here’s a little teaser.

Early this year, designers from all across the company, including Creative Lab and the Material Design team, convened in New York for an intense, week-long design sprint. We drafted a brief that identified four challenges we wanted to address:

  • A scalable mark that could convey the feeling of the full logotype in constrained spaces.
  • The incorporation of dynamic, intelligent motion that responded to users at all stages of an interaction.
  • A systematic approach to branding in our products to provide consistency in people’s daily encounters with Google.
  • A refinement of what makes us Googley, combining the best of the brand our users know and love with thoughtful consideration for how their needs are changing.

It was a huge team effort. Hope you like the work!

google-device-collage-large.png

Project Soli: a new radar based wearable technology

I’m excited to be able to share something I’ve been working on with team at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group over the past few months.

Project Soli is a new technology that uses radar to enable new types of touch-less interactions. My team worked on the overall project design + branding, early interaction ideas and use-cases, demo & prototype ideas, narrative storytelling and connected ATAP with the talented Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall.

Project Soli was announced at Google I/O in May 2015 to rave reviews, and the project team are now building out the DevKit. Developers and interested parties can now sign-up for updates on the official site.

Project-Soli-Site.png

Huge props to Ivan Poupyrev, Carsten Schwesig, and the entire team at ATAP. Excited to see where this will go.

Here’s some things I’ve liked recently.

Sorry about the lack of updates. Work is taking up most of my time at the moment, but here’s some stuff I liked recently. Will try and share more of this kind of stuff in the future. Sound like a plan?

Chrome: SBTV
The first ad in the first break of the new series of X-Factor was this ad for Google Chrome, featuring youth site SBTV, and its founder Jamal Edwards. Inspiring da yoots. Excellent work.

DC Shoes: Ken Block’s Hollywood Megamercial
Gynkhama is back, this time he’s tearing around on the backlots of Universal Studios, California.

TableDrum
A virtual drumkit which syncs the sound of any object to high quality drum samples of your choice. /via Ad Bright

DragonTape HTML5 Mixmaker
Dragontape is an easy to use HTML5 video & sound editor that enables anyone to create mixtape playlists (up to 3 hours long) from YouTube and SoundCloud clips. /via Rubbishcorp
http://www.dragontape.com/home

Nike+ City Runs
An installation for Nike retail stores which visualized a year’s worth of runs from the Nike+ website. Made with OpenFrameworks.
http://yesyesno.com/nike-city-runs

MIT Media Lab’s Brilliant New Logo Has 40,000 Permutations
The algorithm can create 40,000 logo shapes in 12 different colour combinations, providing the Media Lab an estimated 25 years’ worth of personalised business cards.
http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663378/mit-media-labs-brilliant-new-logo-has-40000-permutations-video

Watch YouTube With Friends
Possibly the most interesting recent Google+ feature is a new button on YouTube that lets you start a hang out with friends around a video you’re watching.
http://mashable.com/2011/08/18/watch-with-friends-youtube/

Wearable Electronic Sensors Stick Like Temporary Tattoos, Present Endless Possiblities
A team of researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign have developed small electronic devices that can be worn on the skin.
http://www.geekosystem.com/sensor-temporary-tattoos/