Monday, May 3, 2010

Google Acquires 3D Desktop Interface Company BumpTop

Here's the link, and a demo of the software:

A couple of thoughts...

One, it looks like a pretty cool touchscreen interface for tablets/desktop PCs, but I don't see how the 3D-ness really adds anything at all. Looks like the walls of the box are just being used like extensions of the desktop. The same functionality could easily be done (and is done in lots of OSs) without the 3D effect. When I read 3D, I thought of a fish tank environment where you could actually arrange and view things with X, Y, and Z coordinates, e.g. you could put things not just on the walls, but hang them in the space between the walls. That might be cluttered, but I thought maybe they'd found a cool way to handle it.

Another thought is that everything they demo is either file or photo manipulation. That's probably less than 5% of what I spend my time doing on a computing device. They don't show any text input or processing, browsing, search, or reading, which is probably over 95% of what I do on my machines. I could see how, augmented with very good voice input, this environment would be great for a tablet. Based on the demo alone I'm pretty skeptical about it being much of an OS enhancement, though I'm interested to see what Google might do with it.

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