— Google (@google) May 18, 2016
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.
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:
— Google (@google) May 12, 2016
Shared the videos on YouTube:
Press starting talking about the features:
And people seem to like it:
Google just put search, GIFs, and more into a really great keyboard—for iOS https://t.co/RDCtzIfQyz
— WIRED (@WIRED) May 12, 2016
— The Verge (@verge) May 12, 2016
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) May 26, 2016
— Katie Jacobs Stanton (@KatieS) May 20, 2016
I can’t believe how much I love Gboard.
— Glenn Fleishman (@GlennF) May 16, 2016
— Levi Benton (@levibenton) May 15, 2016
If you haven’t done it yet, stop doing what you do and Install Google’s new iOS keyboard “Gboard” – Best thing since their Search Engine.
— Tobias van Schneider (@vanschneider) May 14, 2016
And the number of Google apps on my iPhone keeps growing: Just downloaded GBOARD pic.twitter.com/eXBeVfVk7m
— Mallory Johns (@mmsuperflyjr) May 14, 2016
Gboard team thought of all the things.
— Josh Williams (@jw) May 14, 2016
OK. Google’s swipe keyboard is amazing.
— Craig Mod (@craigmod) May 13, 2016
★ Gboard: https://t.co/16w6bRfJSt
— Daring Fireball (@daringfireball) May 13, 2016
The One Incredibly Important Gboard Keyboard Setting You Need To Turn Off Right Now! pic.twitter.com/rsxezth5yh
— mat honan (@mat) May 12, 2016
— darth™ (@darth) May 12, 2016
The fascinating thing about the Google keyboard is that it does what many bot apps aspire to do except much better.
— sean rose (@sean_a_rose) May 12, 2016
smart, low-hanging fruit for googlehttps://t.co/7AQ4tkqz1X
— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) May 12, 2016
Some very clever stuff possible with new Google Gboard keyboard, like this: pic.twitter.com/Vfer31ayT9
— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) May 12, 2016
— GIPHY (@giphy) May 12, 2016
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.
I recently bought the new Leica Q from Ken Hansen (if you want great Leica dealer–I highly recommend him) and was lucky enough to be able to take it for a spin during a trip to Los Angeles.
This was the first time I’d used the camera, but wow, what an amazing piece of kit. There’s a lovely quote from Ken Hansen to Craig Cutler which I’ve pulled from the Leica Camera blog to share:
“These are the best lenses in the world, choose your f/stop, set your shutter speed, start shooting, and throw away the owner’s manual. It’s that simple.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Like a lot of people I totally fell in love with this camera. It’s next level no-compromise product design. But more importantly I had fun shooting with it–and am looking forward to throwing it my bag, taking more photos, and maybe even becoming a better photographer in 2016.
It’s also an absolute stunner.
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!