Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Google Makes It Look Easy

Google Labs has done an OSX Dock style home page. It’s pretty cool. What makes it cool is not the graphical style it presents, but the brilliance of the icon design. If you know what services Google offers, the icon makes sense. (I had to mouse over local, video and options to see what they were.) Once you see the name, the icon makes sense. Compare this to other programs you use. Do you know what all the toolbar icons mean? I usually close toolbars because I don’t find them helpful enough to trade for the screen real estate.

How did this happen? Did it spring fully-formed from the head of Zeus? Possibly. Google has a lot of smart folks working for them, except for the guy who did this. So it could have sprung full form. Far more likely, however, is that they did a prototype, tested it, refined it, tested it more, and finally, having iterated, honed and evolved the icons, released it.

This is no easier than Fred Astaire’s dancing, or Charlie Chaplains pratfalls, or Micheal Jordan playing so hard his feet bled. The brilliance is that after all that effort, they make it look easy.
[Update: At the GoogleBlog, Chikai Ohazama writes:

I gave it to a few friends in the company, who gave it to their friends, some posted it on their blogs, others sent it around on mailing lists, and it eventually made its way to Marissa Mayer, who liked it enough to say, when do you want to put it up on Labs? So after some spit and polish from some enthusiastic Googlers and the keen eye of the UI team, Google X is here.

an elegant description of a process. They even make it sound easy.]

You can find other bits of awe at at Google here, and some dissatisfaction here.

Finally, I want to apologize. I got this link from SteveC. a blog I read, and then lost track of which one I try hard to credit sources, and get annoyed when others don’t. If you posted this before me, and think it was you, let me know.

4 comments on "Google Makes It Look Easy"

  • Iang says:

    Other than the slight clunkiness in the browser, it is actually better than OSX’s task bar. I can’t use that because of the way it shifts the spatial map as you slide back and forth; whereas the google equiv sets a firm spatial map and just adjusts the under-mouse icon within that map.
    So it is workable!

  • adam says:

    Hey, it’s even cooler when you turn Javascript on. I browse with it off, and so didn’t even notice that this was happening.
    Also take note: the page works without Javascript at all, and with Javascript, becomes cooler.

  • Elliott Back says:

    Google X Pulled, Archived & Mirrored

    Since Google just pulled their new Google X product and the forums are ablaze, I’m posting a screenshot at full resolution, as well as the archived mirror of the code and a live frontpage demo:
    A zip archive of the Google X homepage can be foun…

Comments are closed.