Mar 21 AT 10:40 AM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

[Update: Nope] Google hires Kevin Rose to help with Android design?


Last week AllThingsD broke the story that Google was hiring most of the team from Milk, a startup founded by Kevin Rose that was working on iPhone apps. Milk’s first project was an app called Oink that let users rate items, but that service was shut down last week, likely because of the talks with Google.

Kevin Rose was the founder of Digg, and co-founder of Revision3 and Pownce. Some people speculated that Kevin Rose would help improve Google+, but he later revealed he was joining the Android team.

We still don’t know Kevin’s exact role on the Android team, but Matt Lynley of Business Insider thinks he will be helping with design. They learned that Google only hired the product team from Milk, while the engineers on the team were not offered jobs. Former Milk employee Amber Reyngoudt told Business Insider that Google was “looking to add design talent.”

I never had the chance to play with Oink, but some people described it as “easily one of the best-looking apps on the iPhone.” Check out the YouTube trailer below to get a feel of what it looked like.

We have been pretty happy with the latest changes in Android’s look, since Google hired Matias Duarte as Senior Director of Android User Experience. However, it’s still easy to point out some native Google apps that need updating, so maybe the Milk team can help with that.

What parts of Android do you think need design help?

Update: Google employee Dan Morrill confirms that Kevin Rose is working on Google+. It appears Business Insider read too much into their conversations with former Milk employees.

Source: Business Insider

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • cristian markovich

    The one that I use daily that could a new look is the default messaging app.

    Nexus S running Android 4.0

    • Mike Hanel

      i agree… every time i get a new phone (usually a google experience phone) I have to change the messaging app. Lately it’s been GO… I hate the light grey bland look… they should make it more customizable or at least offer a light and dark feel to it.

      • Cristian Markovich

        Completely agree. Some of the third party apps go over board with customization rather than making a slick clean messaging app. If the stock messaging app could come with a dark/light switch I’d be a happier camper than I already am.

        • xallies

          I couldn’t agree more. Whatsapp is a great example of what a messaging app should look like.

          • brad

            agree 100% with this!

    • inviolable

      Why not use a third party app? There are very good ones available with several times more features than the stock app.

      • Cristian Markovich

        I love the third party apps but sometimes they crap out when it comes to sending an MMS and some of the third party apps (HandCent specifically) bogged down my phone and killed my battery. I really digg (no pun intended) Android and have been using it since I got my MyTouch 3G running Android 1.5 and want it to be the best because it just makes sense to me.

    • gmaninvan

      I actually like the stock messaging app. I found go sms choppy, although it did look nice. What I would like to see is google use the new holo guidelines to provide more options. There is holo light and holo dark and apps are built in one or the other. What they should do in all of the google apps is make holo light or dark swappable in the app settings. This would be excellent for those of us with SAMOLED screens. I would set all the apps to dark so that they use less battery.

    • Jöran Schlömer

      I think since the introduction I feel like the default messaging App is looking awesome.

  • Jon Campbell

    I watched the video for the first time and then got sad that Oink is over.

  • thekaz

    This sounds exciting. I hope he can help guide Android in a direction which blows iOS users away. Last thing I want is for someone to come in and say, “your stuff needs to look like Apple’s” … I think there is a good opportunity to do much much better than Apple does.

    • amgala

      Agree 100%!

    • thel0nerang3r

      I really don’t get why people mention “so I can show my IOS friends, blah, blah blah.” Personally, what IOS has or doesn’t have does not affect my enjoyment of Android. I see it as getting mad at someone for eating a donut because I’m on a diet.

      • Voliam

        It’s just another twist on “mine is bigger than yours”.

  • autonomousgerm

    Android needs help with all of it. Not with just the “look”, which has improved in ICS, but with the general and widespread inconsistency in the UI. Google needs to lay down some UI guidelines and follow them themselves. They need to pioneer a distinct feel and stick with it. It feels like everything they do is just a guess, instead of thinking it through, establishing it, and then leading by example.

    • Mike Hanel

      you might as well go buy an iPhone then… that is exactly what apple does. One of the nice things about android is that people can make their apps look any way they want. There are a lot of creative devs out there that are making apps with original UI’s that would not be possible if there were UI restraints. I had an iPhone a few years ago and have to say that the uniform UI got boring and was one of the main reasons i switched to Android

      • Nate B.

        I think he was talking about the inconsistent look overall. Like Google may revamp one thing but not the other. Not becoming restricted like apple. Because Android can be a little random. Where it completely jumps to one level then the next but you never really see the evolution in it. They need to be consistent across the board. Quality looking apps. We need development to pick up as far as the icons, performance, beautiful UI within the apps. That stuff alone can swallow a consumer. Android still hasn’t even reached its peak in my opinion. It’ll be scary when it does.

  • zal

    It’s cool.
    I like the fact Google is really care about design.

    I love Chrome for Android, i hope Android in general looks like Chrome.

  • sethoscope

    Android needs some ICS consistency across all of their apps. And poor Google Listen needs to be revived! Looking forward to this addition.

  • Pinoy Android News

    Google is making all apps more social friendly…

  • j.d.

    I guess no one remembers what he did to the Digg interface…

  • Paul Atreides

    Google+ could you some pizzazz.

    • jak2rocks

      Use some*

  • spazby

    so much for that…

  • Dr.Carpy

    This will be a boon for Android and Android users if things get finished in timely, bug free manner. Oink looked super, so never hurts to have another big brain lurking around the Google complexes.

  • professandobey

    I wish that someone would write an article about me getting hired at Google.

    Coincidentally, I’be just applied for a job at Google.

    • Dr.Carpy

      Good luck!

  • Stondec

    2 Google Apps immediately come to mind – the messaging app, Google Voice. These desperately need a design overhaul.
    Play book (stupid name by the way) also needs a lot of editing functionality added