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Et tu Google!

There was a surprise in store for Google users on April 1


I was cautious. I knew that there would be people out there trying to fool me on April 1.

Having successfully negotiated my way out of a couple of possible ‘foolings', I got to office, settled down at my desk and switched on my desktop. I was safe. As I punched a few keys to open Gmail, I was in for a sweet surprise.

A diehard Google fan, I eagerly read the front page that said, ‘New! Gmail Motion – introducing a new way to interact with Gmail – using your body! Gmail Motion can help you improve the way you interact with your email.'

Excited, I clicked the ‘Learn how' link. The cursor changed shape to indicate that the page was loading. I held my breath, awaiting the new technology Google had in store for me. Paul McDonald stared at me through a video.

The Product Manager, Gmail, explained the new technology. In the 1.53-minute video clipping he said how using the desktop/laptop camera the new algorithm translated physical movements into actionable commands.

I leaned forward to have a closer look. An unassuming man who came on screen performed the actions. The Gmail screen behind him responded. Wow!

I was excited as only recently I had invested in a new camera to go with my laptop. Dennis Tooley, California Center for Kinesics and Paralanguage, came on screen. I was impressed. Then came Lorraine Klayman, Environmental Movement Specialist, Nevada Polytechnic College.

I scrolled down the page. The diagrams and the motion guide were impressive. I took a printout of the motion guide. I promised myself that the first thing I would do as soon as I got home was practise.

This was like my karate class in school. Having read through the page carefully, I clicked on the ‘Try Gmail Motion' link, which was highlighted in blue.

A 10-second wait. And, a message flashed on my screen. April Fools Day! I had been taken for a ride. By Google.

KARTHIK MADHAVAN

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