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Gmails April fool – isn’t as foolish as it seems

It’s April 1st, which as we all know is April Fool and a chance for big companies to try and create the best ‘phoney’ product and see how many fall for it.

This year Google have done a great job with their Gmail Motion idea

This video is brilliant, and Google do some wonderful wacky stuff that makes you wonder whether they could technically have done this, but there are 3 very important non-foolish ideas that this throws up.

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if someone did develop a system like this that converts British Sign Language into text – this way a deaf student who has no speech and poor typing skills can suddenly interact with other non deaf users, and in terms of speed – a proficient BSL user could probably sign quicker than they could type – wouldn’t that be great, and technically in a few years time this will probably be possible.
  2. When I teach in front of a class, or deliver a keynote presentation – I like to walk around, partly because I am just a fidget but also the process of being stood up, opens up my lungs better making it easy for me to project my voice. I also find that moving around helps me with the pace and rhythm of my presentation. What is interesting is that as we move into more online deliver, we are tending to work from a seated position, e.g. when recording podcasts or running webinar type sessions. Should we be delivering these whilst we pace up and down our office. With the online session this is tricky as we need to watch the chat window and all the other things that are going on, but with the podcasting option, this is certainly possible by using a portable recorder (e.g a mobile phone, MP3 recorder, dictaphone etc) or a using a wireless microphone that sends the audio to the computer.
  3. There are massive concerns about obesity and too many people being over-weight especially as more and more jobs become office based rather than manual. If someone showed the idea of the Nintendo Wii to me 10 years ago, I would have thought them insane, so is there some logic in introducing an element of movement (exercise) into some computer based tasks. It may lead to a reduction in RSI and have other health benefits – yes we may look silly waving our hands in front of the computer monitor, but look on a train, as people try to hold their mobiles in funny positions to get that all elusive 3G signal.

So as well as being an excellent April Fool – I think this isn’t as foolish as it first appears!


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