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google redesign feature lead

By Dieter Bohn and Ellis Hamburger

Something strange and remarkable started happening at Google immediately after Larry Page took full control as CEO in 2011: it started designing good-looking apps.

Great design is not something anybody has traditionally expected from Google. Infamously, the company used to focus on A/B testing tiny, incremental changes like 41 different shades of blue for links instead of trusting its designers to create and execute on an overall vision. The “design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data” led its very first visual designer, Douglas Bowman, to leave in 2009.

More recently, however, it’s been impossible to ignore a series of thoughtfully designed apps — especially on iOS,...

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chrome language immersion

If you've been wanting to brush up on your foreign language skills but can't devote much time to studying, a new Chrome extension might be just what you're after. Use All Five and the Google Creative Lab have launched a Language Immersion extension that intersperses text on the web with random words from one of a number of languages. You can select the frequency of foreign words on a sliding scale from novice to fluent, and they show up in your text highlighted in blue — clicking them instantly reveals the translation in your native tongue.

The list of supported languages is pretty long, though for some reason it doesn't work with Japanese right now. Given the well-documented problems with machine translation we wouldn't take this as a...

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