I am a software engineer at Google.org,
the philanthropic arm of Google Inc.
Google.org's primary role is the development of Internet services that
address societal-scale problems such as environmental sustainability and
My primary role is user research in support of such services.
Briefly, the facts of my life as are follows:
I work in the areas of human-computer interaction and
data management systems. I'm basically a systems guy.* On
the HCI side, I design and build systems (including interaction
design) and help out with the fieldwork. On the DB side, I work on
middleware and server technology.
* Admittedly, given what I've been doing recently, I'm saying
this with some degree of irony.
Human-Computer Interaction and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
My work in HCI has been highly interdisciplinary, mostly sitting in
the intersection of mobile computing and
I am part of TIER, a
project in which Intel is
collaborating with U.C. Berkeley on the design of
appropriate technology for emerging regions. Various TIER
sub-projects have connections with Intel's Emerging Markets Platforms
Group (EMPG). My published
research on this topic is based on fieldwork in Ghana and Kenya
and a field visit to Chile.
I am working on a project on mobile participatory
sensing called Common Sense. We are
necessarily exploring some technical issues in sensing environmental
air quality using mobile phones, but the key problem of interest for
us as HCI researchers is to understand how and why people become
engaged in citizen science and environmental activism. (Note that
environmental degradation is a key concern in emerging regions.)
I have collaborated for several years with PARC researchers in the sociological
discipline of conversation analysis; their detailed understanding of
human conversational structure have helped us understand how
(technologically) minor differences in a system can have dramatic
effects on interaction.
|...||An example of this work
is a system we nicknamed Mad Hatter, a mobile
audio space designed for use by small gelled social groups. This work
applied machine learning techniques to produce a conferencing system
that adapts to human conversation.|
|...|| As part of this work, Allison Woodruff and I
analyzed some fieldwork on young
adults using push-to-talk cellular radios, drawing on several
perspectives in computer-mediated
|...||Another example is Sotto Voce, a
networked electronic guidebook system that delivers audio information
in a way that facilitates face-to-face human interaction instead of
All of this work on interaction has also lead to a renewed interest in
wide-area collaborative systems. I spent a lot of my
sea sitting in front of networked tactical command-and-control
Finally, I have some background in visualization:
information display technology, information visualization techniques
and visualization system architectures. This came through
with members of the Tioga
DataSplash database visualization project at Berkeley.