I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Pondering on Google I/O

I’ve been think­ing a lot about the things that Google announced at I/O this week. I feel like I’m stuck in a weird camp of being both fas­ci­nat­ed and ter­ri­fied all at once.
The rate at which Google Assis­tant is devel­op­ing is astound­ing and the idea that they are work­ing towards the com­put­er from Star Trek is real­ly quite cool. They are clear­ly get­ting there quite quick­ly. The video demos of Duplex mak­ing a call on your behalf to make a hair appoint­ment or book a restau­rant is frankly amaz­ing. If those video’s are true (why didn’t they do a live demo?) then they’ve cre­at­ed a com­put­er that can pass the Tur­ing Test and fool a human into think­ing they are talk­ing to anoth­er human. This is one of the things that ter­ri­fies me.
I’ve long been uncom­fort­able with the amount of infor­ma­tion Google can gath­er on peo­ple. Now they are show­ing how a lot of that data has been used to under­stand how humans com­mu­ni­cate in the way they are build­ing Duplex and demon­strat­ing it’s abil­i­ty to mim­ic that. Like­wise with the new auto­com­plete in Gmail that they demon­strat­ed, these things are impres­sive, as is the poten­tial util­i­ty of them.
My strug­gle is that I hate the idea of all this data being col­lect­ed on peo­ple, most­ly with­out them real­is­ing, but at the same time I find that I want to use the new prod­ucts that Google are cre­at­ing with it all. I hate hav­ing to make phone calls to peo­ple I don’t know and the idea that I could just ask a com­put­er to do it for me is great, but, it scares me. Just because we can do that begs the ques­tion should we be doing it? When humans are speak­ing in this man­ner, there’s an inher­ent lev­el of trust that is built. It’s a ver­bal con­tract between two peo­ple, with a com­mit­ment from both to ful­fil it. If a com­put­er takes over this ele­ment on behalf of one of the par­ties, do we erode that trust? How far do we let these com­mu­ni­ca­tions go? If we are not respon­si­ble for mak­ing appoint­ments and book­ings, do they start to become dis­pos­able? Will we become less inclined to keep them, and how will this impact small businesses?

Google finds its design voice on iOS ›

Fas­ci­nat­ing look at the way Google are devel­op­ing the design lan­guage for their iOS apps. I have to say I’ve been impressed recent­ly, the new search app and the new maps app are now res­i­dents on the home screen of my iPhone 4. Of course it prob­a­bly helps that they pro­vide me with some fea­tures that Apple have held back from the iPhone 4, main­ly Siri and turn by turn navigation.

One month with Android ›

Ryan Heise has been using Android over his iPhone for the last month or so. His conclusion:

Google wants to rein­vent the wheel that Apple cre­at­ed with iOS, but it’s a wheel that they’re bet­ter off to copy all the way, rather than make a fac­sim­i­le and take out a few big chunks.

There’s a few inter­est­ing points in this arti­cle that seem to con­firm one thing. Apple thinks about how to make some­thing and pol­ish the crap out of it. Google thinks about how to make some­thing quick­ly and then move on to the next thing.
(Via Shawn Blanc.)