Watch: Google’s Little Signals idea reduces notification irritation


Google illustrates that beeps and vibrations aren’t the only means of grabbing your attention.

image via google

Beeps and vibrations have been the primary means of delivering vital (and less important) information to our attention from the early days of mobile phones. Even if they’ve evolved into passive notifications, the alert is still there, making it difficult to turn off and detach from technology for even a little while.

Little Signals, a project under development by Google, aims to send notifications in a more delicate manner. Six interesting smart home devices have been unveiled by the business as a consequence of this, which uses things like the movement of shadows, mild taps, and even a puff of air to draw your attention to a potential problem.


Google and London-based design company Map Project Office teamed together to create a total of six DIY devices that can be downloaded and assembled at home. Described by Google in the video description: “They keep us in the loop yet quietly, shifting from the background to the front as required. Six of them are shown below.

The most intriguing of these is undoubtedly ‘Air.’ Air bursts from a cylindrical gadget that can be spun around. Rather than experiencing a manufactured wind, the goal is to get a glimpse of the leaf movement in your peripheral vision.

In the same vein, the shadow created by ‘Shadow’ is subtly shaped: a little dome. It may be made to pulse in a breathing rhythm if that isn’t enough to get people’s attention.


With the pleasant sound of a real stick being tapped on a surface, “Tap” borrows from human means of attracting attention. If it’s urgent, the gadget will sound a louder thump to let you know.

If it climbs to its maximum height without being touched, ‘Button’ produces a tone.

There are seven pegs that may emerge from the framework in ‘Movement,’ but they can do so individually or all at once, depending on the message you want to communicate. In Google’s words, it can “graphically express information like a calendar or timer” by moving around.


For those who want their notifications in a more traditional form, there is ‘Rhythm’. By waving your hand over it or flipping it upside down, you may silence the programmed music.

According to Google: “These subtle signals are idea starters for how we may nurture new habits and interactions with our technology, functioning in harmony with the products we already love.”

Even yet, how far Google will go with the initiative is still up in the air; still, this is an interesting concept. Even if it’s not out of the question that a future Nest Hub or a Nest Hello doorbell might tap the wall to alert you to incoming visitors, it could be too subtle for people who have already welcomed many screens into their house as part of the price of smart-home living.


If you want to make your own, you may obtain the files from the official website.

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