CAN WE EVEN LIVE WITHOUT OUR PHONES ANYMORE? WE ASKED THE CREATIVE LEAD DESIGNER OF GOOGLE

We don’t need to tell you that technology, especially “smart” technology, has become an increasingly dominant part of our lives. There is Social Media, voice assistants, virtual reality, reminders, calendars – push notifications literally pushing us towards our phones, computers, or what have you. Once monstrous machines, these devices have now become almost an extension of ourselves – and many of their features essential for navigating the pace of our environments. Aware of this increasing demand for efficiency, Google is looking to make the integration of technology into our day to day lives even more seamless and organic – focusing on a minimal design and overall multifunctional device.

Having just recently debuted its new Google Pixel 2, which finds itself being an organic extension of Google’s ever expending product palette, the brand is more and more influenced by the cultural happenings shaping our zeitgeist – and how these can be best channelled into a technical device. One of the men behind this mission is Alberto Villarreal, Creative Lead of Google with multiple years experience at the company and in the tech world – so, which better person to meet when in Berlin for Fashion Week and ask about our relationship with technology than the creative thinker leading one of the companies spearheading this movement himself.

On how phones have almost become parts of our identity

“I think it all goes back to fashion. These products are becoming fashion accessories. A phone like the Google Pixel 2, you almost don’t want to cover it, it’s so different and expressive even with little touches of colour it’s already something that has a narrative and that is how we bring culture into these products.

The relationship we have with these products is super intimate. Sometimes they are the last thing you touch at night and the first you touch in the morning. We have an enormous amount of emotional attachment to them and it’s very important that we make them intimate in colour and form and the way you use them.”

On how tech and Google products are becoming increasingly relatable

“We have a very muted approach to colour. We want to make technology approachable and human. Sometimes tech can be overwhelming, you see all these blinking LED’s, all these mechanical things, all this complexity. We want to take it a different way and I think you can see that with how we approach these products. They have a certain materiality to them – if you touch the products you can feel all these different textures. They’re just fitting into your lifestyle. We asked ourselves: How is this going to look next to your bookshelf? If this is going to be with you all day and in your pocket how does it fit in your life? We want to portray fun as part of the principles that we have.”

On how people’s expectations of their phones changed

“I see a change in how people expect more and more. People are looking for great media consumption and creation – bigger screens and smaller borders. Also, people expect more from the products, the capabilities of the cameras are mind blowing. One thing I think Google is very well position to do is AI and user experience. Whether you’re at home cooking or on the go or at work, we try to make sure that experience carries over very easily. Tailoring that and using AI is what I think is going to change drastically.”

On if we can even live without our phones anymore

“I can see that there are different opinions but we are making tech much more human and tailored to the user. People are expecting a more seamless, conversational aspect – as if they were talking to someone. The interface between human and product becomes seamless. That’s why I can’t see us escaping from tech, it’s becoming so prevalent everywhere. There might be people that could isolate themselves but if tech becomes more approachable and seamless there will be no need to hide from it.”

First and last image by Google LLC

Middle image by Stefan Hoederath

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