Before there was Google Plus, Google Buzz, or Google Wave, there was Orkut.
As usual, Google handed out an array of freebies to attendees of its I/O conference, hoping to entice developers to build applications for its devices. Among them: a square smatchwatch—their choice of the LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live, the round Moto 360 watch, and a piece of cardboard.
Though attendees were confused by the cardboard gesture, they soon realized the flat piece of pasteboard could be folded to construct a virtual-reality headset powered by an Android phone. And as with the smartwatches handed out, Google wants apps for Cardboard.
Google’s interaction design guru explains why better haptics in our devices mean needing a better way to repair them when they break.
When you think about it, smartphones haven’t changed dramatically since the iPhone was first released in 2007. Sure, they have gotten faster, more powerful, and thinner. They have far better sound, displays, and cameras. But at the end of the day, we’re all still using our smartphones the same way we did then: by tapping a glass screen.
That’s frustrating, because there’s a world of other ways we could interact with our devices, from reaching through them to touch someone 3,000 miles away or using puffs of air to feel objects and textures in mid-air.
These methods of interacting with our devices are called haptics, and it’s the area in smartphone and mobile device design where innovation has virtually stood still since the introduction of the touch screen. Why?
Google first teased its interface for wearables by releasing a video back in March. On Wednesday, the Silicon Valley search giant showed off more of Android Wear at its annual I/O developers conference, along with the first smartwatches that will run the software.
At today’s Google I/O keynote, Google revealed its plan to redesign itself from the ground up.
Google took to the stage in San Francisco to roll out most of its big plans for the year. Some were great, others less so. But between the Android update, its burgeoning smartwatch platform and its never-ending quest to conquer your living room, there was plenty to chew on. Here’s the best (and the rest), of Google I/O 2014.
"Design, develop and distribute" is the theme is this year’s Google I/O conference, which kicks off today at San Francisco’s Moscone West Convention Center. Join Fast Company’s Alice Truong and Mark Wilson for live coverage starting at 12:00 p.m. ET.
The Mountain View, California-based search giant announced Monday it is opening up its Glass Explorer program to the United Kingdom—the first time Google Glass will be sold outside the U.S. U.K. residents who are 18 or older will be able to purchase Glass for £1,000, the equivalent of about $1,700, $200 higher than its price tag in the U.S.
Bonita Stewart Coleman’s passion for ballet has seeped into her corporate career path. Here’s how she made the leap between auto and tech.
Being ahead of the curve has proven to be Stewart’s biggest hurdle as she’s risen through the ranks. “Whether it’s working within auto industry or now with Google’s advertising clients and publisher partners, the biggest challenge is convincing others to see what you see,” she tells Fast Company, “and encouraging them to pick up the pace of change.”
The 2014 World Cup is a petri dish for larger changes to the personal assistant—changes that will stick around when the games are over.
“The right to blanket the globe in connectivity is quickly becoming a rush for the sky.”
“Just as broadband served as rocket fuel for Google, smartphones and the always-on mobile Internet are powering Uber.”
The company’s first workforce diversity report is a groundbreaking step for the tech industry, but the statistics themselves are dismaying.
While Google is being widely lauded for publicly owning up to its diversity challenges (it is the first major tech company to do so), the stats themselves are dismaying. Women at Google comprise only 30% of the global workforce, 21% of leadership roles, and 17% of tech roles. Minorities have it worse, with black and Hispanics together making up only 5% of the entire U.S. team, whereas they are about 28% of the U.S. workforce overall.
Google’s Rubik’s Cube isn’t just a cool game: it’s an argument for the future of computing.
"The Rubik’s Cube is many things. It is a toy, it is a puzzle, it is a math problem," says Google Creative Lab’s Richard The, "but it is also just really interesting as a design object." He sees the Rubik’s Cube as emblematic of all things Google: the primary colors, the playfulness, the sense of complexity underlying something seemingly basic and easy to understand.
Google’s secretive R&D lab Google X gets lots of attention for testing and developing moonshot ideas, even though its work has touched few consumers. Fast Company took readers for a detailed behind-the-scenes look inside the Google X operations in April—a world of driverless cars, high-flying Wi-Fi balloons, and even space elevators.
The search giant’s rival Microsoft—a company that could use some disruptive ideas as it struggles to gain major new revenue streams in the shifting computing market—is now taking a cue from its competitor and launching a “Special Projects” group, headed by former deputy director at DARPA Norman A. Whitaker and under the umbrella of Microsoft Research, the company’s sprawling university-like research division.
At a lab office ribbon cutting in New York City, Co.Exist spoke with Microsoft Research chief Peter Lee, who last summer stepped up to oversee his division’s 1,150 scientists and engineers. His comments provide a glimpse into how the $65 billion company is changing the way it thinks about innovation.