Did Google raid Milk for Google+ tablet app design talent?

Mar 20, 2012
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Google+ or its mobile apps could be in line for a significant redesign, with suggestions that Google selectively and specifically raided the design talent at Kevin Rose's Milk app incubator, leaving the engineers behind. The roughly 50/50 split saw Milk engineers Amber Reyngoudt and David Peck spurned by Google, with Reyngoudt confirming to Business Insider that the search giant's focus is apparently on "adding design talent."

Milk's inaugural app, Oink, was widely lauded for its aesthetic polish, and it could well be that which drew Google's attention to the company's designers. The quality of Milk's design was, Reyngoudt says, what made the team such a must-have for Google.

Rose is now listed as a Senior Product Manager at Google, though the department the Digg-founder is working in is unspecified. Other talent brought over from Milk includes UI / UX / Product Designer Josh Lane, and fellow designer Daniel Burka.

Like many of Google's products, Google+ has a relatively pared-back interface, though it has also been accused of being unintuitive for beginners. One of Google's biggest challenges is balancing the amount of information fed into users' streams from their circled contacts, currently achieved with somewhat fiddly sliders.

However, there's also the possibility that the ex-Milk team is taking on one of Google+'s major shortcomings today: the absence of tablet-dedicated apps. Currently, though there are Google+ apps for iPhone and Android phone, there are not specific iPad and Android tablet variants. With Facebook seeing huge mobile device access, Google needs to catch up with its own mobile software experience if it hopes to keep the pressure on its established social rival.


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