Since September 2015, Google has been working with humanitarian organizations to respond to the refugee crisis. On World Refugee Day, we made 2 films to help share an update on a few ongoing initiatives.
NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees
Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees
It’s Sunday evening and I’m a bit all over the place. My wife and I took a Virgin Atlantic flight on Thursday night from New York and landed at Heathrow on Friday morning. It was a one-way trip.
After nearly three and half amazing years in New York, I’m back in London. I’m excited to say I’m starting a great new job and will be joining a fantastic team as Head of Production at Google.
Writing that it I can’t help but think I’m about to get found out in the biggest way possible. We’ll see…..
I’m going to miss the team in New York and the city. I don’t have the superlatives to explain how fucking awesome it was (yes, I said awesome… I’m allowed). During my time there I worked on 60+ projects; some big, some small, some successful, some failures. I never thought I’d be given the opportunity to create a new brand for [one of] the biggest companies in the world. But I was. And we did. Along with a bunch of other amazing stuff.
“It also felt like a good moment to tidy up and hit reset on a bunch of stuff. Especially digital things like email, tags, folders and social. I ran FullContact on iCloud, Google, and LinkedIn to merge and de-dupe the data – and hit delete on the old shit. After that I killed Angel List, G+, Instagram, Product Hunt, Snapchat, Squarespace, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo, Vine, Youtube and more. From today @hellokinsella is dead. A new and shiny @kinsellaxyz is alive.”
But this isn’t about the work I did. It’s about the work I’m going to do. I’m super excited to be joining a team that is already knocking it out of the park. Here’s a snapshot:
In September 2015, the team worked on a project called Assembly of Youth, which used feature phones and SMS to bring the voices of children around the world directly to their representatives at the United Nations General Congress. It presented them to some of the world’s most influential people in a powerful display in the atrium of the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the team worked alongside the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps to launch the Refugee Info Hub. Built and launched in just 36 hours, the portal brings valuable information to the thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and making their way to Europe. Within four months of the Hub’s launch the platform had been used in 18 locations across Europe by more than 30 NGOs, and helped more than 100,000 refugees.
More recently Project Jacquard, which “makes it possible to weave touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard, industrial looms”, won the Cannes Product Design Grand Prix.
And this week they launch Project Bloks, “a research project aiming to create an open hardware platform to help developers, designers, and researchers build the next generation of tangible programming experiences for kids”.
The annual social clean-up is in progress. I’ve already shut down my Posterous and Tumblr accounts to focus on my blog. Now it’s time to deal with Twitter.
I love Twitter. It covers such an incredible spectrum of information; but recently it’s begun to feel out of control. The signal-to-noise was wrong and stuff from people I cared about was being drowned out.
I started by unfollowing a few heavy/active users. But I enjoy a lot of the stuff they share so it didn’t feel massively practical. Then @sermad suggested I made more of lists. I created a few and moved a bunch of people over.
Great! But my timeline was still too noisy.
I tried unfollowing a few more people but couldn’t create a clear mental criteria in my head.
Take my friends and ex-colleagues at glue as an example. I don’t want 180+ people on my timeline, but once you start to add a few, you’re into a strange mental world of… If I add X, I should add Y, because we did X together. In the end I was trying to do something ridiculous like:
People I worked with for more than 4 years + that I regulary went out for beers with + that use Twitter regularly + but not so much that they drown everyone else out = Following.
It wasn’t working. I got frustrated.
So I went BIG and unfollowed everybody.
It might’ve been a bit impulsive but it’s democratic and I can slowly add people back over time.
I have a nagging doubt though. It’s counter intuitive. Lists guarantee I see peoples stuff; but they think I’ve unfollowed them. Not great really. But I needed to wrestle control back of the timeline so I’ve taken the plunge.
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?
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.
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
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/
Video Time Machine Handpicked popular culture from 1860 – 2011.
RobotFlaneur The idea is simple: pick a city, and every 30 seconds it will take you to a random place and show you the Google StreetView image. Each view is not important. What’s interesting is if you leave it running and occasionally glance at it. You might recognise some views in some cities, otherwise there’s a lot of mundanity: suburbs, motorways, traffic signs. These are the grain of the city and vary wildly. /via Dentsu Blog. http://robotflaneur.com/