Stephen Levy, author of In the Plex and an editor of Wired, is reporting that Google+’s lead interface and experience designer is none other than the one that Steve Jobs set out with (along with other extremely talented engineers and designers) to create the Macintosh.
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 joined Google back in 2005. It’s unclear what he’s been working on all that time, but one thing is for certain: Google+ is very polished. It stays true to its design roots in that it does feel like an application that would fit right in with the Mac. This seems to be a new idea, straying from the Google norm of having an engineer act as a designer. It seems that Larry Page, CEO of Google, recognized that for a consumer-facing, social product like Google+ to succeed, the interface would have to be very polished. No doubt that’s a lesson learned from the Google Wave debacle, where the UI was extraordinarily complex and just general offered confusion to anyone who ventured to use the software.
If you are curious about Google+, Stephen Levy’s article offers a fantastic amount of insight in to just what went on behind the scenes before it was launched (he was allowed to be a fly on the wall for the past year; probably because of his book).