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Windows 10? Try 'Windows 10 years ago,' sniffs Google's head of design

Technically Incorrect: On Twitter, Matias Duarte expresses a certain lack of admiration for Microsoft's new marquee software.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Matias Duarte, design critic.

Google

If you need to put together a research group to study myopia, get 10 designers in a room.

Each will have a definite view of everybody else's work. Each will have a definite view that his or her own work is very different. No one will agree.

It's cheering, therefore, but not surprising that Google's vice president of design, Matias Duarte, has expressed his indifference toward Windows 10, which has now been widely available for three months.

Taking to Twitter rather than Google+ on Monday, Duarte began his review of Microsoft's latest software with this: "I just setup a Surface 4 & Windows 10 -- not sure why I was excited to try a new thing, it's basically XP with a flat design skin. #FutureNot."

That's quite a dig from the company that believes it is the repository of so many things futuristic.

He wasn't quite done. He also tweeted: "#Windows10 More like Windows 10 years ago!"

Some mused in reply whether Google's own operating system software might be a touch similar to, say, that of Apple. (Sample from one Rahat Maini, whose Twitter page sports a Windows logo: "Android 6.0? More like iOS features from 6 years ago.") Others suggested he focus on ensuring that Android, Google's mobile software, wasn't quite so fragmented.

Some even wondered whether he'd noticed that Google's separate Chrome OS looks and works like Windows XP.

Such was the lively debate on Twitter that Duarte felt the need to explain himself further. He said: "I have no beef with how #Windows10 *looks*. I'm disappointed it *works* just like XP. I understand that's a feature for many. Not for me!"

Microsoft declined to comment.

Of course, had Microsoft pleased Duarte taste buds, I'm confident that he would have immediately emitted many tweets praising Redmond's creativity and berating himself for not being as creative.

Still, he did offer a form of praise for Microsoft that some may see as being faint to invisible: "Man, I struck a nerve! Overly clever tweetbait aside, I've always liked [what] Microsoft was attempting to do with Windows 8 -- change the paradigm."

The problem with the paradigm is that it appears to be narrowing all the time. The real estate on phones is becoming samey. Designers seem to find it hard to break through their chosen (design) language barriers.

But if you were to look at the work of Microsoft and Google, you might decide that the former has attempted more radical design than the latter, both in hardware and software.

Microsoft may not have always been successful, but the intent was clearly there.

Perhaps the best and the most radical of Google's design thought is still to come. Perhaps.