Have you ever worried that spending hours at your computer each day, whether for the purpose of answering emails for work or communicating with friends and family, is ruining your health and physical fitness? Well, a new Google product – released on April Fools’ Day – presents a solution. Gmail Motion takes the concept of spatial tracking technology, such as that seen with the Xbox Kinect, and applies it to email.
For the April Fools’ prank, members of the Gmail team discussed the history of computer interaction – following the concept of the QWERTY keyboard and mouse to the inevitable next step of physical recognition. The team then talks about how motions were designed to incorporate ergonomically approved movements to both execute standard commands and full messages.
The physical motions are designed to be intuitive. For example, if you want to reply to a message, you simply point over your shoulder with your thumb, while the “reply to all” feature can be activated by pointing over your shoulders with both thumbs. For composition, your computer camera simply recognizes your body language communication and transcribes it as text.
This Google hoax was elaborate, with multiple videos, including everything from tests of different Gmail Motion and even interviews with ergonomic, technological, and communication experts. Those experts assured us that the new service will make communication more effective, since so much of our face-to-face communication comes from our body language, and comfortable, since the motions were designed by experts in the field.
The Gmail Motion project even had its own logo and branding developed, which can be seen across videos, landing pages, and other content created spefically for this fake Google service.
The “Motion” idea wasn’t exclusive to Gmail, either. Google Docs announced plans of implementing Motion features in the coming months, and other companies (Blizzard Entertainment, as one example) launched similar spoofs focused on spatial tracking. The release of the Xbox 360 Kinect last year, as well as experiments demonstrating how the Kinect can be used to control a variety of games and programs, is likely at the core of it all.
[via the Gmail Blog]