Soli is a Google’s Project that enable users to interact with digital devices without touching them. Nothing really new, except for the hardware technology that concentrates everything in one small “piece of sand” on the electronic device board.
Using the same “approach” that is already used by dolphins, whales and bats, the Google researchers created a single chip that can identify and translate simple gestures in effective commands even through other materials.
Google and Microsoft are restyling the interfaces of a lot of their products and web sites. They are fighting in the office automation market, in the cloud services and in the mobile. Obviously they’ve different approach and different corporate images, but I think that there’s a convergent vision in their plans.
Look at Gmail, Greader, Gmap, G+, YouTube playlist and Chrome Start page design. They are really minimal and full of rectangular function buttons. All these functions seem to be designed to be touched, not only clicked. Imagine to use these web apps from a tablet or on a desktop with a big touch screen. It’s cool!
Once I touched my 17’ monitor thinking to write a new mail because I had the hands far from the mouse, and for me was instinctive touching the monitor.
See the little gallery of the new Google UI
The same approach is recognizable in the Windows Phone and the new Metro interface of Win8, even if they are not comparable with the Google products. Microsoft is rectangularizing the start pages, not the internal applications/menus, but I’m writng about style and about the explicit differentiation from Apple with its rounded and confusing buttons.
Even the new Nokia Lumia 800 is differentiating from iPhone 4s using strong angles like the Mango interface. Love it!
Following a little gallery of the new Microsoft design approach.
I’m not a designer, but I think to be an heavy and careful user of Internet.
I think that Google is trying to reach a good interaction of its products from the touchable web with HTML5. Doing this it’s accidentally playing with Microsoft that is developing a new OS that in one core (Win 8 ) is designing three coherent UIs thanks to Metro interface and Mango.
I really think that in the future we’ll have a lot of touchable monitor in laptops and desktops, in one hand for the the decreasing costs, in another for our new interaction patterns. If you touch your smartphone while you are travelling on the bus, why you shouldn’t touch your office monitor reading a presentation or a document?
Anyway, I think that we are really running towards a future of touchable interfaces distributed in consumer devices like pc, tablets, smarphones, and professional devices like totem, interactive tables and whiteboars.
I’m pretty sure even that when we’ll have the perfect touch interface, someone will remember about Kinect, the real killer application in the Microsoft’s portfolio. Take a tour in Channel9. Here hundreds of users are experimenting the power of the body control, while Microsoft relased new SDKs and in the next year even the commercial use of Kinect. Simply great!
I’d like to design an application that uses the natural movements for the classic web applications. I’ll post it here, so check it out!