Google Experiment with Ambient Computing in Its New Design Study

  • Ethan Smith
  • 20 Apr 2022

Ambient computing is a topic that has interested Google for a long time. This time, the company created a video showcasing objects that are supposed to convey the idea of what ambient computing can look like.

In the video posted by Google, we can see several objects that are designed to deliver notifications in the most natural and subtle ways possible. Instead of hearing a loud notification or seeing your screen light up, such objects inform their owners with the help of changing shadows, light breezes, and taps. The experiment is called Little Signals and the idea is to further take the concept of ‘calm computing,’ which is supposed to be less distracting and overwhelming for users.

Google has displayed six interesting objects in its collection, which are called Rhythm, Shadow, Button, Tap, Air, and Movement. You can see what such objects can potentially look like in a video and there is also further information on the site. The only issue is that the descriptions are so abstract that you are unlikely to get any new details for yourself.

At the moment, both Google and its collaborator refer to this project as ‘thought starters’ and ‘experiments,’ it is already obvious that such objects can exist in real life.

At this stage, it is difficult to predict the practical value of such objects, but some people may find them interesting. With how much information and distraction we deal with every day, there are some doubts about whether people will even notice such subtle notifications. From the design point of view, they surely look great. It would be exciting to see how these ideas can make their way to actual real-life devices.


Leave a comment