Good news and bad news

Last week, during a workshop at Google, I was asked to do a verbal report about our break-out session on “the future of gesture on mobile devices”. The Google V.P. presiding over the day, Alfred Spector, whom I quite like, said we could do these reports in any fun way we like — “even in iambic pentameter”.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that of course this was music to my ears. I composed and on the next day presented a faithful report entirely in iambic pentameter rhyming couplets. Which our hosts seemed to like, because today, on the Google blog, they linked to my little poem.

Alas, you can’t get the full effect of my presentation from reading the poem. There was a whole level of physical comedy in the performance that doesn’t show up in the words (with some of my more expressive comic gestures unsuitable for publication on Google’s blog). I’m thinking now that I might need to create a procedural character to act out the performance here.

OK, that was the good news. The bad news was that the very next posting on Google’s blog — also today — was an announcement that they are terminating Google Labs. As many of you know, Google Labs is where they put all the cool edgy crazy delightful stuff that may or may not turn into a product.

I love the brilliant randomness of Google Labs, and will be sad to see it go. There is something admirable about a company that has the courage to float brilliant innovations out in public, before those innovations have been neatly wrapped into a specific product. Hopefully Google will find some other way to put their researchers’ wonderful creative ideas out there for us to try out, without feeling they need to wait for official product cycles.

One Response to “Good news and bad news”

  1. Sharon says:

    Though googlelabs.com will disappear
    I feel sure we have little cause to fear.
    The innovations will still hit the street,
    just as a rose renamed still smells as sweet.

    (Be kind. Those may be the first lines of “poetry” I’ve written since high school English class :) And congrats on the blog post. Maybe you could follow up with a YouTube video performance, though I guess you’d have more fun creating the animation.)

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