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Google Acquires BumpTop Desktop 94

Posted by timothy
from the want-want-want dept.
TuringTest writes "BumpTop, a company that provides a multi-touch physical desktop metaphor, has been acquired by Google and made to 'no longer be available for sale.' BumpTop provides a direct way to handle information through simple gestures. Some media see this acquisition as a movement by Google to position against the iPad. Will BumpTop be ported to Android?"
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Google Acquires BumpTop Desktop

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:23PM (#32135926)

    It'll languish for a few years, the main people behind it will quit, and we'll never see it reach its potential.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@warr i o r s - s h a d e .net> on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:43PM (#32136042)
    I have always been fascinated with the "3d" desktop ever since, yes I'll admit it, Jurassic Park. That Irix program, I don't remember the name, but I have made it a point to try out all kinds of crazy 3d desktop apps, but I've found they are largely useless. They look cool often, but in general, they slow things down, eat resources, and usually just sit on top of the desktop instead of being shell replacements. What I've found more useful are the apps like rainmeter and those kinds of programs. Look at all the lifehacker posts of desktops, how many use 3d? Now I will say I tried bumptop and it was one of the better ones, especially the "mouse pattern" ability to control icons, but being a gamer I couldn't justify the extra resource usage. On a side note, one of the random weird programs that I shouldn't have liked but did was some old sonyu program that came on the vaios, that was all black and red and could organize things in a helix shape, I never could find it again, anyone remember that?
  • by bhartman34 (886109) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:45PM (#32136068)
    You mean like happened with their acquisition of Writely? ;)
  • Old fashioned... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Illogical Spock (1058270) on Friday May 07, 2010 @11:49PM (#32136094)

    Maybe I'm getting old (in fact, I AM getting old :-) ) but, seriously, I think all that touch interfaces are great... for very specific uses.

          Yes, to organize "piles" or to zoom in/out photos, maybe it's ok... But to everything else, my good old mouse is still my choice. Please note that I'm NOT talking about smartphones or othes small pocket devices, where touchscreen is a real improvement (althought the phisical keyboard in my Android phone is essential). But for the so-called "tablets"? To read a magazine or newspaper; to see some pictures, OK. But for everything else, please give me my full keyboard and my mouse and I'll be happy. What makes me see two very different products: the living-room-reading-and-playing-appliance; and the computer. Two different entities that will live together for a long time.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:14AM (#32136218) Journal

    Being able to quickly link arbitrary tasks/windows with hotkeys would be more useful to me, as such I proposed this:
    http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=121349 [kde.org]
    http://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell/DesignersPlayground/KeyboardShortcuts [gnome.org]

    Alt-tab allows quick switching between two active tasks, but is not as quick for more than two. In the end I gave up waiting, and actually wrote something to do that in Windows (my current workplace is a mainly Windows environment): http://sourceforge.net/projects/linkkey/ [sourceforge.net]

    It's handy enough for me whenever I need to work with more than two windows. It doesn't work with all app windows ( e.g. those using the ITaskList_Deleted property ). But I think I'm the only user anyway. I guess everyone else is happy enough with "alt-tab" and clicking.

    Lots of people get impressed with stuff like 10/GUI ( http://10gui.com/ [10gui.com] ) but it would be slower if you actually need to use it for stuff, after all I don't see how it can even switch tasks faster than "alt tab". It's only good for Hollywood ;).

    Thought-based interfaces are already appearing, so what would be a better UI than all that flashy animated 3D crap would be the ability to link "thought macros" to arbitrary actions or objects/items.

    Then I would only have to think "command" (this would be a unique thought macro - not thinking of the word command), "recall", [thought macro of object follows] (object retrieved), "send to" [thought macro of Bob here], "confirm", "uncommand" (to get out of command mode).

  • Metaphors? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:32AM (#32136322)

    Bloody hell, they're able to buy metaphors now.

    Next thing you know their purchasing similes and puns and you wake up one day and realise you can't make your senior investigator in the crime novel you're writing a compulsive alcoholic, because Google acquired the characterization from Cliched Crime Detectives Holding Company two weeks ago...

  • by MikeFM (12491) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @12:54AM (#32136406) Homepage Journal
    It looks retarded. What is useful?
  • by DavidinAla (639952) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:14AM (#32136496)
    I have no idea what Google plans for this software, so I might be surprised. With that said, though, it seems to me that this is the sort of software demo that impresses people who are already expert users of the current desktop metaphor. While that might include all of us who would read a site such as Slashdot, the VAST majority of people don't fall into that category. In my experience, most of them are already confused by the current file systems we use -- and software such as this simply takes the same metaphor and makes it more complicated. I think that what Apple is doing with the iPad (and iPhone) makes more sense. They're hiding the file system, which upsets and terrifies many geeks. Since we've been using this particular abstraction (and the ones that came with DOS-based systems before this), it's natural for us to think in terms of files. For most normal people, I suspect the approach that Apple is taking is more natural. Regardless of whether Apple has the right approach or not, though, I think the next-generation systems require a rethinking of the paradigm that we're comfortable with. It's time to make more of the OS transparent to the user in SOME way. Doing what BumpTop does merely adds bells and whistles (and a cool demo factor) to what already exists, IMO. I don't believe it will ever lead to anything that will be popular with people outside of geek circles.
  • File piles? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:17AM (#32136516)
    That demo makes using a computer look like a lot of work. I don't want a pile of files I need to sort through one at a time. I hope they get something valuable from the patents, but don't take too many design cues.
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:28AM (#32136562) Homepage Journal

    Wasn't Sun supposed to revolutionize the world with a similar 3D desktop back in 2004?

    http://java.sun.com/developer/technicalArticles/J2SE/Desktop/lookingglass/ [sun.com]

  • Hmm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @01:48AM (#32136648)

    Google Desktop 2.0 anyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 08, 2010 @02:15AM (#32136746)

    Patents? From a little Indian company? I really doubt there was none :)

    I think they just acquired the skills.

  • by rumith (983060) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @03:27AM (#32136986)
    Or with any of their other [wikipedia.org] acquisitions. Hell, they even rolled out Dodgeball [now Google Latitude] despite both of the original authors quitting Google, and that was the most screwed-up acquisition of theirs that I know of. Just take a look at the Wikipedia list: virtually all of the startups they bought are full of life and have become well-known products (except those that have been acquired quite recently or deal with things like security or server technology).
    Add to the equation the fact that Google sometimes open-sources the codebase for the original product they got with the startup (like Jaiku and Etherpad), and I'm left wonder what else do you want with them :)
  • by drewhk (1744562) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @04:24AM (#32137136)

    Maybe they just want some patents for multitouch technologies.

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