Google Buys 3D Desktop Interface BumpTop

google buys 3d desktop interface bumptop logo

Google is continuing its string of acquisitions: the company has just acquired Bump Technology for an undisclosed amount. The three year-old Toronto-based company is the maker of BumpTop, a 3D desktop interface for touchscreen devices that presents applications, documents, and other items in a 3D desktop “box” and lets users organize items by creating “piles.” Documents and files related to one particular project—like, say a photo album—can go in one pile, while boring spreadsheets and boring work stuff can go in another. Users can pin frequently used items (like a bookmark to their Facebook page!) right on the walls of their 3D cube.

BumpTop represented one of the only real-world examples of trying to re-imagine the computer desktop interface for a touchscreen-enabled, 3D-capable world. Unfortunately, that’s now in the past tense: although downloads of BumpTop are available through May 7 for Mac OS X and Windows PCs, Bump Technology is no longer selling the products and no future updates are planned.

google buys 3d desktop interface bumptop

Google has not announced what it plans to do with BumpTop technology, although the potential implications for Google (so far) netbook-oriented Chrome OS and the Android mobile platform are potentially wide-ranging. Chrome OS has no plans to enable users to have direct access to the file system: a 3D, touch enabled interface that enabled users to organize their items into arbitrary piles and collections just my moving them around might be a huge differentiator for the platform. Similarly, touch-enabled browsing and organization of files could conceivably be useful for Android devices—especially devices with touch screens larger than a typical phone.

In recent weeks, Google has also acquired social search firm Aardvark, chipmaker Angilux, document collaboration DocVerse, online photo editor Picnik, and game and widget maker LabPixies, among others.

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