We all remember the face-plant that was Google Glass.
Or the time when, in an infamous fit of overengineering, Google tested 41 shades of the color blue on ad links to find the most profitable hue. Since then, however, the company has been steadily refining its design strategy to get out of the way and put users first. Last year, Google’s Allo messaging app was an honoree in Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards. This year, the company has presented a slate of sophisticated new products—including a range of smart speakers, a globe-trotting virtual experience, and a new interface for communicating via Morse code on smartphones—signaling a design-first sensibility that has earned Google our first-ever Design Company of the Year Award, honoring high-quality, ambitious design work across an organization. CEO Sundar Pichai sat down with Fast Company’s Co.Design editor, Suzanne LaBarre, for an exclusive interview about how design fits into Google’s overall mission.
Ten years ago, I would not have identified Google as an iconic design company. Was there a moment when you said, “We need to invest in design”?
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