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Google I/O revealed a host of interesting developments.

Here I attempt to stick my finger in the air and determine what they could mean for us as people in the long term.

Feel free to agree or disagree.

Aesthetically engaged 

The upcoming Android L release includes a developer release for a new cross platform UI called Material Design. It hints at the future of web design as a much richer experience, crucially using depth and 3D graphics, as well as movement, to engage the user more.

There's a nice document here which lays out some of the UI principles, simply put below.

  • Surfaces are intuitive and natural.
  • Dimensionality affords interaction.
  • One adaptive design.
  • Content is bold, graphical and intentional.
  • Colour, surface and iconography emphasize actions.
  • Users initiate change.
  • Animation is choreographed on a shared stage.
  • Motion provides meaning.

With UI an area that many feel needs some rationalisation and standardisation in web design as a whole, but also on mobile, this is an interesting release. The sign off to that Material Design document is so mantric I thought I'd copy it below, along with a nice video showing some of the design uses.

material design 

Surreptitiously connected

Android Wear runs LG’s G watch and Samsung Gear Live that were both demoed at Google I/O. It can be voice activated and allows for notifications by vibration.

Wear links in with Google Now and gives you details on your daily exertions, too. Steps, heart rate etc.

At I/O, Wear was demoed ordering a pizza from an app in around 20 seconds. What I'm getting at with the subheading here is that the etiquette (in parts of the world) that precludes getting your phone out and doing stuff will gradually become a thing of the past. Pub quizzes will finally be impossible unless underground.

We'll be connected all the time and tasks will be quicker and easier. With Apple, Samsung and Google behind the smart watch, it surely can't fail.

LG G watch 

Reliably connected

Project Volta is part of the new L release. It's a battery saving mode that may add 90 minutes to the day's charge.

That means we'll less often experience the frightening state of being without a connected device.

This project along with the proliferation of connected objects may contribute to the next point. 

battery 

Mechanically ignorant

Complexity can be driven underground by the connected device. At Econsultancy's recent Future of Digital Marketing conference, Jason Mesut of Plan pointed to the touchscreen controls of a Tesla car as an example of this phenomenon.

If more things are connected, more controls become virtual, there's the potential we will lose the ability to fix stuff ourselves. Like one used to do if the hoover stopped working.

Android Auto was announced at Google I/O. It's not as worrying as the Tesla touchscreen car controls. In fact, it probably makes things safer, as it's the ability to link a smartphone to a compatible car. One can then use the phone with voice commands, therefore being safer than when tempted to break the law and pick up your handset.

There's an argument that this still adds complexity to driving that isn't necessairly a good thing for the roads. However, we'll have to rely on Google to quickly sort out those self-driving cars it's working on.

google self-driving cars 

Privacy aware

Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president, summed up some of the new products, including Auto, by saying: 

Users increasingly are living in a multiscreen world. You are using the TV, wearing things on your body and when you get in your car, you expect the same experience.

People are becoming more aware of how their data is used across devices, where they are tracked and where they aren't. I think people expect all this data to be linked up soon, to the extent that on or off is the only choice.

This should lead to more people being aware of privacy or lack of it, and that will likely be a good thing. I can even see it spawning new business ideas. The unconnected holiday is already something that many desire.

privy

Ben Davis

Published 26 June, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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