Original Macintosh Designer Andy Hertzfeld Helped Design New Google+ Social Network

Original Macintosh Designer Andy Hertzfeld Helped Design New Google+ Social Network

By most accounts, Google’s new social network Google+ at least looks pretty good.

As it turns out, there’s a reason for that: it was designed by the guy who designed the original Macintosh.

In a great, in-depth report on the making of Google+, In The Plex’s Steven Levy reports for Wired:

With colorful animations, drag-and-drop magic, and whimsical interface touches, Circles looks more like a classic Apple program than the typically bland Google app. That’s no surprise since the key interface designer was legendary software artist Andy Hertzfeld.

Andy Hertzfeld, of course, was one of the key designers behind the original Macintosh software. He’s been working at Google since 2005, and with Google+, Hertzeld was apparently given free reign to “flex his creative muscles.”

Even more interestingly? According to Levy, Google CEO Larry Page is historically opposed to lavish, attractive designs, but he made an exception for Google+… and exception that Hertzfeld chalks up entirely to Apple’s resurgence.

Look closely at Google+! There’s more than a little Apple DNA there.

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  • Brilliant_Thinker

    Cool, still not going to use it. I can’t wait for this “social” crap to die out, just like the other fads get saturated after a while. The whole business model is based on teenagers and people who have problems being alone (and don’t get upset because you don’t fall in this category and still like it. It doesn’t mean that the whole business model isn’t built around it, even if not everyone applies to what I just said). They mine data that everyone gives out freely because they feel they need to share everything, and the corporations laugh.
    Furthermore it just keeps on getting fragmented with everyone and their mother going ME TOO!, bringing out network after network in an attempt to get a piece of the pie.
    I do use twitter because its useful having a lot of news from independent sources on a glance, but stuff like Facebook and the likes are what I am talking about. Hungry data vacuums popping out everywhere, luring people in with “free” and “being able to express yourself” and “sharing with friends”. 
    I know a lot of people see through this and don’t crap up the net with more useless data junk, but teenagers and over expressive need-to-be-noticed people will.

    I just had to say this. Damn.

  • Gheedsgreed

    remember to flush

  • Michiel Mac

    I totally agree. One other thing i am afraid of is that the meaning of words change over time and those changes become official once it says so in the dictionary.
    The idea that when i lookup the word ‘friend’ in the dictionary in a few years from now, some sort of ‘enlisted person in someone’s facebook list’ definition appears… And that the definition of friend wont contain anything real, actual and personal anymore.
    That idea scares the crap out of me !

  • lmfs

    Hetrzfeld was more than a “simple” designer. He was the heart and soul of many of the now OS features we now take for granted. He built the scrollbar and many other UI elements. Go back to 1986 and take a look at the code he wrote at the moment, it is really amazing. A completely different view on how things can be done. It most certainly made me “Think Different”. It’s all in Motorola 680×0 code but truly wonderful, all the logic. Seeing those pieces made me think in ways not previously mentioned of. He really was the man at the time, I have never ever seen such really groundbreaking ideas he wrote at the time of the moment. Hertzfeld was one of the gurus and it is time for Apple to recognize his work. Read the ROM code from 1986 and you will discover great ideas, way ahead of time.

  • lmfs

    In due time. Facebook is the 3rd largest “country” in the world, but time will tell. They will go into the history books as many others. They will be replaced, if it it happens tomorrow? I have no idea, if it happens next year, I have no idea. It will happen that is the idea. Facebook is dead, it is just about when it happens. A fling we liked until the next thing,,,

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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