As we are aware, Google loves itself some April Fools gags. The more memorable pranks from Google include the likes of Pigeon Rank, Google Gulp, Gmail Paper, Google Topeka, CADIE, and Animal Translator. This year, the Gmail team announced the launch of Gmail Motion – a cutting edge technology that can use your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into actions for controlling Gmail.
To be honest, this wasn’t exactly a fresh idea. Opera Software had pulled off a similar trick a couple of years back with Face Gestures. In fact, noting the similarity between Face Gestures and Gmail Motion, Choose Opera joined in on the fun.
“For us, Google’s latest innovation was just an April Fools joke a few years back, so we are really impressed with them actually taking this to the market. We called our invention “Face Gestures”, but “Motion” is probably a better name for a product that is not only a joke”, says Jan Standal, the boss of Desktop Products here at Opera.
When Aleksander, our Face Gestures model, was asked about his opinion on Google Motion turning the kinesthetic technology into reality, his eyes welled with tears of joy and said: “I knew this day would come.”
Of course, both Opera and Google were just being being playful. However, the joke is now on Google. A few enterprising folks have turned Google’s April Fools’ joke into reality using Microsoft’s technology. In less than a day, the FAAST crew that brought us the WoW (World of Warcraft) keyboard emulator has cooked up a real-world Gmail Motion application for Kinect.
FAAST is calling their software SLOOW or Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving. Check out the video embedded below to see the salient features of Gmail Motion like opening an envelope to compose mail, and licking the stamp to send mail in action.