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Three Things About The Google I/O Keynote That Were … Interesting

on Wednesday, May. 15th

Warning: snark ahead. Not like "the tech press corps doesn't have the attention span for a three hour long event so they start whining about it on Twitter" snark, but snark nonetheless.

Google Hangouts App

While I'm keen on the idea of Hangouts being a unified messaging system that maybe–just maybe–will let me escape the gravity well that is Facebook forever, the design on the iOS app… how to put this gently?

Sucks.

It just sucks.

Google has chosen to make conversations the centerpiece of the app, to a fault. If you have a conversation going in the Hangout app the first thing that pops up is a list of the active conversations. This breaks the logic we're used to from SMS services, iMessenger, and Facebook messenger.

It is almost deliberately counterintuitive, and at least at first blush feels like a design choice made so that Hangouts is different for the sake of being different. It really needs to get off my lawn.

All in all Hangouts is leaving me deeply conflicted right off the bat, because this is the product I want most from Google, with all the little graphical details that make the current Google search and Google+ apps so enjoyable to use, but with a stubbornly obtuse UX structure.

I hope this improves soon, otherwise it's staying in the reject drawer on my phone.

Auto Awesome

Why pick filters out or go through the painstaking process of editing photos when you can just Auto Awesome?

Here's how The Next Web describes the new G+ feature:

Auto Awesome combines photos together automatically to create new ones. It will link multiple images together to create a motion gif, for instance.

Another feature will combine multiple images together where some people are smiling and others are not to craft one good one where everyone is. HDR processing is also an option, as is automatic panoramic images from ones taken side by side.

While I'm always game for a timesaving feature, I'm most excited about the Frankensteinian "new aesthetic" monstrosities that will result from letting the machines handle our photo editing whole cloth.

Invisible Sergey Brin

Perhaps Google Glass has gotten a creeptacular upgrade, and the Google co-founder was actually in attendance–only he was invisible.

After so much strum and drang at last year's I/O Keynote about Glass it just seems weird that neither the product, nor it's chief champion, are visible at this year's event.

Follow Noah Nelson on Twitter (@noahjnelson)

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