While there is no publicly available information to fully answer the question, we've used the available data to pull together key findings. Generally speaking, Google's SumUX unit works on various projects surrounding Google Search, Doodles, News, and Assistant. Sketch2AE is an example of a tool produced by Google SUMux Motion Design. Furthermore, the SumUX project was created by a team of experts including Bobby Nath, Paola Colombo, Diane Solinger, and Tina Wang. The following presentation includes an outline of our research methodology, to better understand why the requested information is not publicly available, as well as a deep dive into our findings.
We started our research by exploring the Google SumUX official website in order to gain perspective on the type of activity that this Google unit generally pursues and identify some of the projects that they worked on within the last 6 to 12 months. The website clearly indicates that SumUX is the structure behind Google Assistant, Google Search, Google News and Doodles. However, further details regarding projects associated with each Google product were not available. Nevertheless, we continued our exploration of official sources by looking through Annual Reports and Press Releases of Google LLC. Not only that but also, we were able to find the Annual Report of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google LLC. The report briefly talked about Google Search and Google Assistant but it did not include any references to SumUX.
We continued our research by exploring the social media profiles of SumUX team members, thinking that they might reveal more details concerning specific projects on which they worked. To this avail, we went on to examine social media networks such as LinkedIn. Looking at the team members’ profiles, we found out that the professionals working for SumUX handle a variety of projects surrounding UX Research and Engineering, Content Strategy as well as UX Writing, PgM, Motion Design, Visual Design, Conversation Design, and Interaction Design. However, there were no additional details regarding specific projects developed by the team within the last 6 to 12 months.
Having discovered that, we continued our project by exploring the news and media mentions surrounding each SumUX product. Therefore, we examined a variety of online publications and magazines specialized in software development and technology. Search Engine Land, XDA Developers, Vox, and Tech Target are just a few examples.
Furthermore, we investigated official Google resources such as the virtual spaces dedicated to Google Doodles and Google developers. Although we didn’t find any details regarding SumUX projects and setbacks, Search Engine Land indicates that one of the challenges related to user experience, in general, has to do with navigation abandonment due to slow loading pages. From XDA Developers and Vox, we found that, although the voice assistant technology is becoming more and more widespread, consumers seem to be concerned with the lack of privacy. Google and similar companies will have to gain their costumers’ trust. In addition to that, Vox reveals a number of other challenges surrounding Google’s voice recognition technology. Its limited capability when it comes to comprehending accents is only of them. The lack of money-making strategies and the necessity to invest in hardware solutions are two other issues that Google will have to face. Tech Target reveals similar issues. To what we have already mentioned, Tech Target authors add that a lack of contextual understanding is another challenge that AI developers need to address.
To make sure that we have exhausted all possibilities regarding SumUX media mentions, we performed a thorough search through social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter in order to find out whether they featured any posts regarding SumUX projects. We discovered a 2017 Facebook post referring to Sketch2AE, a Google SUMux Motion Design tool. However, as we mentioned, the post dated back from 2017 and it did not include any pain points or challenges. Aside from tech publications, we went on to investigate marketing reports from Markets and Markets, Transparency Market Research or Market Research, among others. Several reports focused on Google and IoT but the table of contents did not feature any recent projects of Google SumUX. We need to mention that the reports were not publicly available in their entirety. The full text was hidden behind a paywall, as it can be seen by accessing the ‘Intelligent Apps Market’ report.
Finally, since the publicly available information surrounding our topic was so scarce, we decided to try and triangulate the requested information. We examined 2018 and 2019 surveys and reports created by Microsoft and other industry publications, such as Voice Report. We also searched for expert opinions like those of Mario Queiroz, Vice President of Product Development at Google, and Svetlana Sicular, an analyst at Gartner Data and Analytics. Based on these sources and some of the sources previously mentioned, such as Vox and Tech Target, we attempted to identify some of the challenges surrounding the SumUX products. However, the pain points that we discovered were not strictly affecting SumUX products but the voice recognition technology as a whole. Moreover, there is no proof that these issues emerged within the last 6 to 12 months. Judging by the unrevealing LinkedIn profiles of SumUX team members, it is likely that the information related to Google's SumUX projects is confidential.
When it comes to some of the SumUX projects, we were able to find that Google SUMux Motion Design created Sketch2AE to bring ‘sketch and after-effects’ closer to one another. Furthermore, recent Google Doodles projects include Celebrating Ruth Asawa, Labour Day, Celebrating the New Era, Last day of the Heisei Period or Evangelina Elizondo’s 90th Birthday.
Regarding Google News, a SumUX product, we found that the permanent data flow that is uploaded to the Internet is analyzed with the help of A.I. The information is then organized and storylines are created. Company representatives state that Google News A.I. can understand ‘people, places and things involved in a story as it evolves.’ However, as we have seen from previous sources, one of the issues with A.I. technology is that the machines have yet to understand the context. Microsoft team members suggest that, in order for companies such as Google to gain their utilizers’ trust, they need to improve their A.I.-based products and make sure that they can provide users with ‘authentic and contextual information.’
As for Google Search, this Google unit is very dynamic, projects such as index changes or algorithm updates occur all the time. Search Engine Land presents some of the most relevant updates that marketers can consult. However, these updates go back to previous years and thus exceed our target timeframe of the past 6 to 12 months. However, Google Speed Update was released in July 2018 and it was one of SumUX’s projects. Because speed was a challenge for Google, since latency led to navigation abandonment, this update aimed at improving page load time. Through this update, slow loading pages were excluded from top search results. Ilya Grigorik, a Web Performance Engineer at Google, stated that there is still a long way to go in this respect. Industry professionals, such as webmasters or SEO experts were afraid that this update would negatively affect their traffic.
Finally, the most recent apps associated with Google Assistant are 100 Years Ago, Credit Card Helper, and My Adventure Book. The 100 Years Ago app allows the user to listen to hit music and breaking news from 100 years ago. The Credit Card Helper assists utilizers with finding the best credit cards in a short time, while My Adventure Book is a game that stimulates users to create their own adventure story. Aside from the newest apps, the trend that dominates the Google Assistant user experience seems to be the voice recognition technology developed with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Therefore, a lot of the challenges that Google Assistant needs to address revolve around voice recognition software and A.I. limitations.
The Microsoft ‘Voice Report for 2019’ reveals that 72% of respondents had utilized voice assistants and that 36% of them preferred Google Assistant in specific. In terms of challenges surrounding the technology, the utilizers’ concern regarding privacy is an issue that companies such as Google need to address. 41% of users are worried about privacy. Most users fear that their information is not secure, that they don’t know exactly how their information is utilized or that their devices are listening or recording them.
Google Home, a device that runs Google Assistant, is also facing some challenges of its own. First and foremost, it is nearly impossible for Google to run ads in this environment. An audio advertisement that utilizers cannot avoid would generate a lot of complaints. Furthermore, developing vocal recognition software makes it necessary for Google to start investing in hardware capable of holding that soft. Furthermore, the search results returned in a voice environment don’t allow the utilizers to see the entire list of sources that their search revealed. This makes Google seem biased. Privacy concerns and a difficulty to understand accents are two other challenges that Vox associates with Google Assistant.
Although the information surrounding the projects developed by Google’s SumUX unit and their respective challenges is not publicly available, it is likely that the most recent SumUX projects focus on improving A.I. capabilities in general and refining voice recognition technology in particular. The Google SumUX products are built around artificial intelligence. Google News uses A.I. to analyze the permanent flux of news uploaded to the Internet and then create storylines for Google News users. Google Assistant is powered by artificial intelligence in its entirety. Improving the product’s voice recognition capabilities is a necessary undertaking to ensure Google’s success in the industry. Therefore, the challenges that SumUX projects face are likely the same challenges that A.I. technology and voice recognition software are currently confronting. A few examples include the limitations of artificial intelligence technology when it comes to contextual understanding, the consumers’ lack of trust concerning the way Google and similar companies protect and utilize their data or the fact that vocal recognition software makes it hard for companies to find and implement money-making strategies.