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Google Acquires BumpTop

 11:17 pm on May 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has acquired BumpTop - a startup that designs software that creates a 3D interface for your desktop, the company announced today:


Today, we have a big announcement to make: we're excited to announce that we've been acquired by Google! This means that BumpTop (for both Windows and Mac) will no longer be available for sale. Additionally, no updates to the products are planned.

For the next week, we're keeping BumpTop Free available for download at bumptop.com/download to give BumpTop fans one last chance to grab a copy.



 12:21 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Looking at the screenshots on Wikipedia,


I'm not sure I understand why people would want this. Am I missing something world-changing, or is this just glossy fluff?


 1:06 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

You're missing something world-changing actually.

Pick up a copy of the game Ultima Online, the worlds longest running virtual world online game and tinker around with it for a little bit. Players own houses which they spend countless hours upon hours setting up exactly like they want it. Why? Because they can and it's cool plus provides a sense of unique and custom in a world where every other player has the same options.

Is having files stacked one on top of another on your desktop how you REALLY want it to look? If you could make it look more like say... your office, wouldn't you rather stick those important backup files in the safe on a virtual looking wall? Wouldn't you like your email icon to actually be your office "in tray"? Perhaps stick files containing images into what looks like a photo album sitting on a shelf? You could file your vehicle repair bills in the center console of your dream car if you prefer to have it look like the inside of a hot rod.. or... the sky is the limit. When you click on the drawer a closeup version of an open drawer could pop up to show you what's in it etc.

I think it's long overdue that people ditch the "sort by name" level of customization ability in favor of virtual looking screens. Good move Google!

p.s. don't look under the big folder in the lower left drawer of my desk, I don't share my 2pm munchies with anyone!


 1:43 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ever since I seen that film "Disclosure" I know it was far fetched, who could resist Demi Moore back then, I saw the 3d file system in the film and just thought it was awesome, be nice to see if google can make it a reality.


 3:29 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you could make it look more like say... your office

Wasn't it called MS Bob? Our offices look that way because we have physical limitations to work with.. an OS doesn't have those limitations and should improve on the office concept and surpass it, not emulate it.

And as for 3D for 3D's sake, like the OS in Jurassic Park, sure it looks a lot of fun, but I don't see it actually increasing productivity.


 4:07 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Our homes should all be futuristic too, but we like them comfortable, wonder why that is...


 10:38 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Looking at the screenshots on Wikipedia,

BumpTop is not something which can be seen at static screen shots. You have to experience it. Your desktop is more or less converted to a 3D room where you can organize and stack your documents the same way as you are used to with paper work. You can put memo's on the wall, combine documents etc.

There are some demo's on YouTube which give a much better idea of the functionality than those static pictures at Wikipedia.


 11:50 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

we're excited to announce that we've been acquired by ______!

I'm getting used to seeing this sentence more and more.


 11:59 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

The trick with any user interface is to avoid creating a maze. If it looks pretty, great, but it must be easy to find what you want. Making a user interface appear and behave like the real world is unlikely to be efficient, but if it's done well may be an improvement over a standard Windows interface. The main advantage is that it should be intuitive to new computer users, however, the vast majority of users are no longer "new" so it seems unlikely this will change the world. Now, if a company with a large corporate client-base (maybe IBM) had bought it with the intention of pushing it into offices, perhaps it would have an impact.

There is an irony here - Google exists today because it provided a clean and simple interface to find things on the maze that is the internet.



 2:57 pm on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reminds me of the Microsoft BOB interface(RIP).


 12:36 am on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

They probably just want the coders and designers... I installed that thing some time ago. Not to use, but good coding! Maybe they have some interface plans for Android, augmented reality stuff, etc. and for that you need really skilled people...

just 2 pennies


 6:44 am on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

MS Bob did not work out, but the manager in charge of it did OK!

I have watched a video of Bumptop in use, and it seems to be a way of encouraging people to organise documents in piles, more like piles of paper. I prefer electronic documents because they organise themselves more (they do not change position when you take them out to read, you can sort by date or name, etc.) Making them more like a real desktop is a step backwards for productivity.

The changes I find useful tend to be things that make the GUI desktop LESS like a physical desktop: multiple desktops, desktops widgets, configurable panels, pinning windows, placing Windows always on top or bottom.

I no longer keep documents showing on the desktop background at all: the "Desktop" directory is just another directory, and all that shows on a desktop with no Windows on it are some useful widgets - CPU temp, moon phase (full moon days are public holidays here) and waste bin (to remind me to empty it occasionally).


 8:03 am on May 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

From the screenshots in Wikipedia it looks like the purpose of the software is to make your desktop as messy as your desk already is.

Can you add virtual coffee mug and then spill virtual coffee all over you desktop, too?


 1:21 am on May 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

BumpTop is closing their desktop version for good, I guess Google is going to employ them in developing a system for GPad or Android netbooks.


 1:24 am on May 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

as messy as your desk already is

I'm guilty as charged ...

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