Hello London. I’m back.

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.

Wait? What?

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”.

I start tomorrow. Wish me luck.

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.

Hello Google

It’s Sunday evening. I’m a bit all over the place after getting off a plane late last night – flying to New York to start a new job, tomorrow, at Google Creative Lab.

Yep. It feels strange to write that. I’ve talked about it before a little bit; but have only just found the breathing space to get something a bit more long-form down. As well as finishing a job I loved, I’ve also just got married, been on honeymoon, and am selling up and moving out of London. It’s been a crazy few weeks.

So, some history.

It’s only been 15-months since I joined Stinkdigital; I honestly loved being there and it stills holds a very special place in my heart. I was surrounded by a bunch of talented and fun people. I learnt loads. I made some mistakes. We did great work. We did it with a smile on our faces. I was slightly in awe at the quality of the place when I joined – I still am now.

So, why did I leave?

I’m a lover of creativity and technology; I’ve always thought Google is one of the most exciting and forward-thinking companies on the planet — and that Google Creative Lab is doing some of the most amazing, ambitious, and interesting work out there.

I could get all wordy about it, but you don’t pass up an opportunity like this.

I spent a bit of time with a few members of the team last week, taking about the work. They’re so switched on it’s unbelievable. It’s also exciting for me personally to be part of a team at Google that already includes some amazing people.

Iain wrote something when he joined that really struck a chord: “Everyone I’ve met who works at Google and Google Creative Lab feels like they’re part of a company that is both a great business AND can change the world for the better. I’m overjoyed to share their beliefs and look forward to joining them.”

That’s the feeling I got when I spent time there.

When I talked with Kevin about things he casually dropped in: “This place is a bit like the Butterfly Effect – everybody who joins has the opportunity to make a difference.”

I hope I can make a positive one.

So it’s been an absolute joy to be part of the unfolding Stinkdigital story; I loved every minute of it. And here’s to the a next adventure with Google. I’m excited by the future that lays ahead – and that’s all you can ask for, right?

I start tomorrow. Wish me luck

Internet + TV = The Battle for the Living Room

This month we’ve been thinking about how 2011 is shaping up for that 42” screen sitting quietly in the corner of your living room. Because when the likes of YouTube, Vimeo, Apple, and Google start focusing on delivering services for the tv… know something’s going on.

It’s not just the digital big boys either. A consortium of the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five and BT have developed YouView. A service that brings Freeview, and Internet catch-up and video on-demand services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand Five and SeeSaw, to your TV.

Don’t panic though. Here’s the blaggers guide.

YouTube ‘LeanBack’ and Vimeo ‘CouchMode’ lets anyone with a connected TV or modern web browser view and navigate web content using a simple interface with search functionality. They’re designed to start playing a personalised feed of videos in full screen mode and high definition as soon as you launch them.

Apple TV, Boxee, and YouView all offer services through an external box that you connect to the back of your TV. The services vary, but the general gist is the same. You rent and watch films and TV shows, stream content, watch YouTube videos, enjoy photos, music, and more.

Last up is Google TV which is available through an external box, but is also comes built-in as part of the new Sony Internet TV range. Google TV lets you find and record shows, run apps, and search and use the full web.

Obviously it opens up LOTS of questions and LOTS of opportunities for media owners and brands. It’ll be fascinating to watch this unfold over the next 6-12months. But one thing’s for sure. Your TV is about to get a monster kick up the arse. Exciting times.

YouTube Leanback – http://www.youtube.com/leanback
Vimeo Couchmode – http://vimeo.com/couchmode
YouView – http://www.youview.com/
Boxee – http://www.boxee.tv/
Apple TV – http://www.apple.com/appletv/
Google TV – http://www.google.com/tv

(A version of this comment first appeared in glue Isobar October Newsletter.)