One of Android’s greatest key strengths has always been the way it handles notifications. Google’s mobile OS was the first to adopt and popularize this system of kind like passive app alerts piling up in something like a notification shade, and the Android team has advanced this functionality greatly with every new release.

It’s little surprise then to see Android Nougat again focusing a lot on that aspect, introducing things such as a new look for notifications, grouped notifications, new & more highlighted control options and a new direct reply implementation for messaging apps.

At first, all these updates might not sound like much and kind like like not needed updates and catch-up features. Actually, however, I’ve found that they’re a lot more significant than their names and first appearance might suggest, perhaps even displaying the greatest advancement to Android’s notifications since 2011’s introduction of actions and resizing, as they appear to be just the beginning of a deeper rethought of the system’s notification system.

Google Play Music has always had a big focus on the cloud. In fact, it was basically completely build around this very concept when it launched as “Google Music” more than five years ago, with the main feature being that users could upload their entire personal music library for free and then stream and listen to it from anywhere (and since the desktop music player was nothing but a lightweight website, anywhere really meant on any thinkable device just with a web browser!).

And until today - countless new iterations, a new name, several complete overhauls and the introduction of a new main feature with music subscriptions later -, this core concept and type of cloud integration is still what defines the service and sets it apart from the competition.

But though a cloud service at its very core, one thing that has not progressed, and which makes Google Play Music feel strangely unconnected today, is the still local-only listening experience. Instead of a unified, cloud-based implementation, every device still has it’s own local music queue and, even worse, own local music history and often thereof based suggestions, leading to many small, divided experiences in all the different places that a user is interacting with the service.

That one of Google’s self-driving cars was responsible for an accident on public roads for the very first time also didn’t go unnoticed to the news and social media last week, and one thing that I’ve thereby noticed is that many people appear to not yet understand the whole deeper relevance of autonomous cars. Focusing on the fact that they can drive by themselves and that there are taxicabs and trains as an alternative if they couldn’t, many don’t understand why the industry is investing so much in those projects.

Thus, I’ve decided to create this list with some less obvious aspects that self-driving cars could fundamentally change, also beyond the usual stuff like that they are way more secure than we human drivers. Of course the majority of people certainly understands that it’s about more than just ‘who is driving’, but I think it’s interesting anyway for everyone to try and think on the one hand side more openly about this rising technology, as well as about a few more concrete ideas what changes might come with it, perhaps even touching science fiction to a certain degree.

Google Chrome Synced Tabs Concept

on May 27, 2015 - 22:34
Synced Tabs have always been a defining feature of Google Chrome. They’ve already been part right from the beginning when the browser launched in 2008, a highlight when Chrome went mobile in 2012 and they’re still one of the main reasons for Google Chrome’s success on Mac OS and even on iOS, despite all restrictions.

Today however, this big strength appears to be rather underutilized. On the desktop, Synced Tabs have been downgraded to being just a part of Chrome’s “recent tabs” menu, which also includes 2-3 recent links from other connected devices. Of course it can still be very useful that way, but in first place, Google is making Synced Tabs a niche feature, and this despite the ever increasing role of smartphones, mobility and cross-device browsing.

To take full use and fully accelerate the growing potential of this feature, this concept imagines how Synced Tabs could be implemented in a better way. Considering just how few Chrome’s UI has changed over all the years, the idea presented in this concept might actually display the biggest shift in user experience ever for Chrome, though I’m convinced that this would be the right step and pay off.

Concept: Reviving Bookmarks

on May 12, 2015 - 18:37
The reaction from many tech blogs was overly positive when an update to Chrome’s bookmark manager fully leaked months ahead it’s official release. They figured Google was “trying to revive” bookmarks after a decade without any innovation and seemed genuinely excited.

However, following a big backlash from beta users, Google Stars appears to be dead. Besides many small flaws, the biggest problem with Google Stars was in my opinion that it had the same fundamental problems as it's predecessor.

As someone who always wanted to, but never really got into bookmarks, I was very disappointed and asked myself what Google Stars maybe should have done different, and what might had been able to revive bookmarks. And I'm convinced that the solution presented in this concept, which focuses on a reworked favorites bar, is actually capable to do this and to finally carry browser bookmarks into 2015!

Even though driving already a lot of users just because of it's name, YouTube's apps are in no way relying on this aspect, but offer a unique user experience. Nonetheless, there's of course a lot that could be improved, and while a previous concept focused on the app's design, this concept focuses on functionality and especially on giving the service's individual channel's a far bigger meaning, and thus shooting YouTube as a platform to a whole new level.
There are many situations where you don't want to leave a page but just quickly get to know what's behind a link. While it’s an easy task to quickly open (and close) a link in a new tab on PCs today, it’s a totally different experience on mobile devices.

Using Google Chrome on Android, you could either simply open it and then awkwardly navigate back once you’re done, forcing the previous site to load anew and losing your position. Or you could alternatively open it in a new tab, which however on mobile requires many manual actions and thus is a similar uncomfortable experience.

Even if opening links in new tabs worked more stable on mobile devices, it would most likely often still not fit that well after all. The reason for this is that people are browsing different on their mobile phones. Whereas it’s easy to keep track of many tabs on a PC, users are more ‘focused’ on mobile devices.

The option to open links in “windows” aims to fill this gap of quickly getting to know what’s behind a link and is specifically made for the way people are browsing on mobile phones.

Full-Screen Keyboard Concept

on November 27, 2014 - 21:37
One of the great aspects of your PC’s keyboard is that it’s just always there and directly accessible when needed, but at the same time also never in your way when you don’t need it. Virtual and hardware keyboards both completely break down at this, having to be plugged in first when needed, and in the meantime always be carried around by you.

Instead of coming up with a better solution, manufacturers are currently trying to temporarily transform your tablet into a laptop. Of course new software solution will still be far away from the typing experience offered by a hardware keyboard, but at least the gap between the two could be significantly smaller.

Google(+) Restructuring Concept

on October 14, 2014 - 17:50
Iit’s totally clear that Google+ Photos service will become an independent service very soon. So while losing it’s most anticipated and praised feature, Google+ should become what Google always claimed it isn’t: simply a social network.

Thanks to Android, hundred millions of users all over the world already have Google+ pre-installed, and Google should finally take real use of this. Currently, if someone opens the Google+ app - maybe per accident or because of curiosity - he is halted by a characterless screen-filling sign in page. Google+ already has a bad reputation because of all this login stuff, and for a new user this login screen might just be a verification and the reason to leave the app again.

Instead, Google+ could act more like YouTube, giving the user the possibility to discover it’s advantages and greatness without the direct need to sign up first. Of course Google+ and YouTube are very different services, but the concept could certainly be applied anyway. While this might not work for most social networks, Google+ is a very underestimated service, with an overwhelming user experience, that could be capable to convince users to voluntarily sign up permanently after testing it for a while.

Windows 9 Desktop Evolution Concept

on September 4, 2014 - 23:08
It’s probably rather hard to come up with great changes to an interface that hasn't changed much since decades and that you might even think of as perfect. Nevertheless, Microsoft did an overwhelming job with Windows 7. A lot of small enhancements, add-ons and adjustments to old elements made it a great evolution of the desktop and a big step forward for Microsoft. The feature I presented within this article - the so-called Pin-feature - is also just one small update. This concept is really not about guessing what Windows 9 will actually be like, but only about explaining this one idea and discussing its impact and advantages. The feature could work as well next to all the more likely changes coming to Windows. It might not even be specifically restricted to Windows 9, but would be a great addition to any desktop OS.
It’s very interesting to imagine any app being rethought with Material Design, but YouTube - which is part of Google - is especially interesting for a variety of reasons. This concept imagines what YouTube could look like on Android going all-in with Google's new design language.

Interestingly, YouTube was actually not even mentioned at this years I/O in the context of Material Design. And this although the very same service might actually could have been the origin of Material Design.

It’s very interesting to imagine any app being rethought with Material Design, but YouTube - which is part of Google - is especially interesting for a variety of reasons. This concept imagines what YouTube could look like on Android going all-in with Google's new design language.

Interestingly, YouTube was actually not even mentioned at this years I/O in the context of Material Design. And this although the very same service might actually could have been the origin of Material Design.

Windows 9 Concept

on June 30, 2014 - 17:51
Microsoft’s aim for tablets was nothing less than to create a tablet experience that could replace your laptop.

However, it’s obvious that Microsoft missed it’s aims. A convertible device might be a good tablet and a good laptop in one device, but the tablet experience alone will never be even near your PC.

The next big update to Windows is said to change this. Even though first previews of Windows 9 won't even arrive before spring 2015, this concept imagines what might come next: A completely new interface - much inspired by the traditional desktop - that tries to bring PC-level productivity finally to tablets.

Imagining Google's Project Hera

on April 25, 2014 - 18:34
You might already have heard about Project Hera, a huge update Google is currently working on to "bridge Android, Chrome and Search". The project, which we first got to know through an extremely coarse and confusing Androidpolice article, seems to be definitely true, but only very few information is given at this time.

Hera’s main goal is apparently to create a cross-platform experience comparable to the tab-syncing feature of Google Chrome. It's also said that the user will be able to interact with an app without having to actually fully start it. Also, a great shift in user interface design seems to be on the way, aligning the experience across Android and Google’s web services even more.

I thought much about what such a cross-platform multitasking feature might look and work like, and I'm proud to present you this concept imagining Google Hera. It's extremely unlikely that Hera will even work only a bit similar to this, but it might paint a clearer picture of the great possibilities Hera might bring.

One of Android’s greatest key strengths has always been the way it handles notifications. Google’s mobile OS was the first to adopt and popularize this system of kind like passive app alerts piling up in something like a notification shade, and the Android team has advanced this functionality greatly with every new release.

It’s little surprise then to see Android Nougat again focusing a lot on that aspect, introducing things such as a new look for notifications, grouped notifications, new & more highlighted control options and a new direct reply implementation for messaging apps.

At first, all these updates might not sound like much and kind like like not needed updates and catch-up features. Actually, however, I’ve found that they’re a lot more significant than their names and first appearance might suggest, perhaps even displaying the greatest advancement to Android’s notifications since 2011’s introduction of actions and resizing, as they appear to be just the beginning of a deeper rethought of the system’s notification system.

Google Play Music has always had a big focus on the cloud. In fact, it was basically completely build around this very concept when it launched as “Google Music” more than five years ago, with the main feature being that users could upload their entire personal music library for free and then stream and listen to it from anywhere (and since the desktop music player was nothing but a lightweight website, anywhere really meant on any thinkable device just with a web browser!).

And until today - countless new iterations, a new name, several complete overhauls and the introduction of a new main feature with music subscriptions later -, this core concept and type of cloud integration is still what defines the service and sets it apart from the competition.

But though a cloud service at its very core, one thing that has not progressed, and which makes Google Play Music feel strangely unconnected today, is the still local-only listening experience. Instead of a unified, cloud-based implementation, every device still has it’s own local music queue and, even worse, own local music history and often thereof based suggestions, leading to many small, divided experiences in all the different places that a user is interacting with the service.

That one of Google’s self-driving cars was responsible for an accident on public roads for the very first time also didn’t go unnoticed to the news and social media last week, and one thing that I’ve thereby noticed is that many people appear to not yet understand the whole deeper relevance of autonomous cars. Focusing on the fact that they can drive by themselves and that there are taxicabs and trains as an alternative if they couldn’t, many don’t understand why the industry is investing so much in those projects.

Thus, I’ve decided to create this list with some less obvious aspects that self-driving cars could fundamentally change, also beyond the usual stuff like that they are way more secure than we human drivers. Of course the majority of people certainly understands that it’s about more than just ‘who is driving’, but I think it’s interesting anyway for everyone to try and think on the one hand side more openly about this rising technology, as well as about a few more concrete ideas what changes might come with it, perhaps even touching science fiction to a certain degree.

Google Chrome Synced Tabs Concept

on May 27, 2015 - 22:34
Synced Tabs have always been a defining feature of Google Chrome. They’ve already been part right from the beginning when the browser launched in 2008, a highlight when Chrome went mobile in 2012 and they’re still one of the main reasons for Google Chrome’s success on Mac OS and even on iOS, despite all restrictions.

Today however, this big strength appears to be rather underutilized. On the desktop, Synced Tabs have been downgraded to being just a part of Chrome’s “recent tabs” menu, which also includes 2-3 recent links from other connected devices. Of course it can still be very useful that way, but in first place, Google is making Synced Tabs a niche feature, and this despite the ever increasing role of smartphones, mobility and cross-device browsing.

To take full use and fully accelerate the growing potential of this feature, this concept imagines how Synced Tabs could be implemented in a better way. Considering just how few Chrome’s UI has changed over all the years, the idea presented in this concept might actually display the biggest shift in user experience ever for Chrome, though I’m convinced that this would be the right step and pay off.

Concept: Reviving Bookmarks

on May 12, 2015 - 18:37
The reaction from many tech blogs was overly positive when an update to Chrome’s bookmark manager fully leaked months ahead it’s official release. They figured Google was “trying to revive” bookmarks after a decade without any innovation and seemed genuinely excited.

However, following a big backlash from beta users, Google Stars appears to be dead. Besides many small flaws, the biggest problem with Google Stars was in my opinion that it had the same fundamental problems as it's predecessor.

As someone who always wanted to, but never really got into bookmarks, I was very disappointed and asked myself what Google Stars maybe should have done different, and what might had been able to revive bookmarks. And I'm convinced that the solution presented in this concept, which focuses on a reworked favorites bar, is actually capable to do this and to finally carry browser bookmarks into 2015!

Even though driving already a lot of users just because of it's name, YouTube's apps are in no way relying on this aspect, but offer a unique user experience. Nonetheless, there's of course a lot that could be improved, and while a previous concept focused on the app's design, this concept focuses on functionality and especially on giving the service's individual channel's a far bigger meaning, and thus shooting YouTube as a platform to a whole new level.
There are many situations where you don't want to leave a page but just quickly get to know what's behind a link. While it’s an easy task to quickly open (and close) a link in a new tab on PCs today, it’s a totally different experience on mobile devices.

Using Google Chrome on Android, you could either simply open it and then awkwardly navigate back once you’re done, forcing the previous site to load anew and losing your position. Or you could alternatively open it in a new tab, which however on mobile requires many manual actions and thus is a similar uncomfortable experience.

Even if opening links in new tabs worked more stable on mobile devices, it would most likely often still not fit that well after all. The reason for this is that people are browsing different on their mobile phones. Whereas it’s easy to keep track of many tabs on a PC, users are more ‘focused’ on mobile devices.

The option to open links in “windows” aims to fill this gap of quickly getting to know what’s behind a link and is specifically made for the way people are browsing on mobile phones.

Full-Screen Keyboard Concept

on November 27, 2014 - 21:37
One of the great aspects of your PC’s keyboard is that it’s just always there and directly accessible when needed, but at the same time also never in your way when you don’t need it. Virtual and hardware keyboards both completely break down at this, having to be plugged in first when needed, and in the meantime always be carried around by you.

Instead of coming up with a better solution, manufacturers are currently trying to temporarily transform your tablet into a laptop. Of course new software solution will still be far away from the typing experience offered by a hardware keyboard, but at least the gap between the two could be significantly smaller.

Google(+) Restructuring Concept

on October 14, 2014 - 17:50
Iit’s totally clear that Google+ Photos service will become an independent service very soon. So while losing it’s most anticipated and praised feature, Google+ should become what Google always claimed it isn’t: simply a social network.

Thanks to Android, hundred millions of users all over the world already have Google+ pre-installed, and Google should finally take real use of this. Currently, if someone opens the Google+ app - maybe per accident or because of curiosity - he is halted by a characterless screen-filling sign in page. Google+ already has a bad reputation because of all this login stuff, and for a new user this login screen might just be a verification and the reason to leave the app again.

Instead, Google+ could act more like YouTube, giving the user the possibility to discover it’s advantages and greatness without the direct need to sign up first. Of course Google+ and YouTube are very different services, but the concept could certainly be applied anyway. While this might not work for most social networks, Google+ is a very underestimated service, with an overwhelming user experience, that could be capable to convince users to voluntarily sign up permanently after testing it for a while.

Windows 9 Desktop Evolution Concept

on September 4, 2014 - 23:08
It’s probably rather hard to come up with great changes to an interface that hasn't changed much since decades and that you might even think of as perfect. Nevertheless, Microsoft did an overwhelming job with Windows 7. A lot of small enhancements, add-ons and adjustments to old elements made it a great evolution of the desktop and a big step forward for Microsoft. The feature I presented within this article - the so-called Pin-feature - is also just one small update. This concept is really not about guessing what Windows 9 will actually be like, but only about explaining this one idea and discussing its impact and advantages. The feature could work as well next to all the more likely changes coming to Windows. It might not even be specifically restricted to Windows 9, but would be a great addition to any desktop OS.
It’s very interesting to imagine any app being rethought with Material Design, but YouTube - which is part of Google - is especially interesting for a variety of reasons. This concept imagines what YouTube could look like on Android going all-in with Google's new design language.

Interestingly, YouTube was actually not even mentioned at this years I/O in the context of Material Design. And this although the very same service might actually could have been the origin of Material Design.

It’s very interesting to imagine any app being rethought with Material Design, but YouTube - which is part of Google - is especially interesting for a variety of reasons. This concept imagines what YouTube could look like on Android going all-in with Google's new design language.

Interestingly, YouTube was actually not even mentioned at this years I/O in the context of Material Design. And this although the very same service might actually could have been the origin of Material Design.

Windows 9 Concept

on June 30, 2014 - 17:51
Microsoft’s aim for tablets was nothing less than to create a tablet experience that could replace your laptop.

However, it’s obvious that Microsoft missed it’s aims. A convertible device might be a good tablet and a good laptop in one device, but the tablet experience alone will never be even near your PC.

The next big update to Windows is said to change this. Even though first previews of Windows 9 won't even arrive before spring 2015, this concept imagines what might come next: A completely new interface - much inspired by the traditional desktop - that tries to bring PC-level productivity finally to tablets.

Imagining Google's Project Hera

on April 25, 2014 - 18:34
You might already have heard about Project Hera, a huge update Google is currently working on to "bridge Android, Chrome and Search". The project, which we first got to know through an extremely coarse and confusing Androidpolice article, seems to be definitely true, but only very few information is given at this time.

Hera’s main goal is apparently to create a cross-platform experience comparable to the tab-syncing feature of Google Chrome. It's also said that the user will be able to interact with an app without having to actually fully start it. Also, a great shift in user interface design seems to be on the way, aligning the experience across Android and Google’s web services even more.

I thought much about what such a cross-platform multitasking feature might look and work like, and I'm proud to present you this concept imagining Google Hera. It's extremely unlikely that Hera will even work only a bit similar to this, but it might paint a clearer picture of the great possibilities Hera might bring.

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That one of Google’s self-driving cars was responsible for an accident on public roads for the very first time also didn’t go unnoticed to the news and social media last week, and one thing that I’ve thereby noticed is that many people appear to not yet understand the whole deeper relevance of autonomous cars. Focusing on the fact that they can drive by themselves and that there are taxicabs and trains as an alternative if they couldn’t, many don’t understand why the industry is investing so much in those projects.

Thus, I’ve decided to create this list with some less obvious aspects that self-driving cars could fundamentally change, also beyond the usual stuff like that they are way more secure than we human drivers. Of course the majority of people certainly understands that it’s about more than just ‘who is driving’, but I think it’s interesting anyway for everyone to try and think on the one hand side more openly about this rising technology, as well as about a few more concrete ideas what changes might come with it, perhaps even touching science fiction to a certain degree.

Even though driving already a lot of users just because of it's name, YouTube's apps are in no way relying on this aspect, but offer a unique user experience. Nonetheless, there's of course a lot that could be improved, and while a previous concept focused on the app's design, this concept focuses on functionality and especially on giving the service's individual channel's a far bigger meaning, and thus shooting YouTube as a platform to a whole new level.

Google(+) Restructuring Concept

on October 14, 2014 - 17:50
Iit’s totally clear that Google+ Photos service will become an independent service very soon. So while losing it’s most anticipated and praised feature, Google+ should become what Google always claimed it isn’t: simply a social network.

Thanks to Android, hundred millions of users all over the world already have Google+ pre-installed, and Google should finally take real use of this. Currently, if someone opens the Google+ app - maybe per accident or because of curiosity - he is halted by a characterless screen-filling sign in page. Google+ already has a bad reputation because of all this login stuff, and for a new user this login screen might just be a verification and the reason to leave the app again.

Instead, Google+ could act more like YouTube, giving the user the possibility to discover it’s advantages and greatness without the direct need to sign up first. Of course Google+ and YouTube are very different services, but the concept could certainly be applied anyway. While this might not work for most social networks, Google+ is a very underestimated service, with an overwhelming user experience, that could be capable to convince users to voluntarily sign up permanently after testing it for a while.

It’s very interesting to imagine any app being rethought with Material Design, but YouTube - which is part of Google - is especially interesting for a variety of reasons. This concept imagines what YouTube could look like on Android going all-in with Google's new design language.

Interestingly, YouTube was actually not even mentioned at this years I/O in the context of Material Design. And this although the very same service might actually could have been the origin of Material Design.

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