Google Maps, Google Plus, cards, and the evolution of the company’s design

The New Yorker’s Matt Buchanan:

When I spoke to Google designers across a number of products over the past couple of months, they rejected the idea that this was a top-down revolution. They described it instead as a conversation across the company. While an ascendant Larry Page “put the emphasis on beauty and gave us the freedom to go beyond,” said Gilbert, there’s “no organizational authority making it happen.”

Whatever the real story, from grass roots to a top-down skunkworks factory, it’s working. A year or two ago I wrote off Google’s design chops, especially on an aesthetic level, as dull and uninspired. No longer.