Lots of interesting bits in Redesigning Google: how Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution. The thesis:
“We went to Google looking for the person responsible for the new design direction, but the strange answer we got is that such a person doesn’t exist. Instead, thanks to a vision laid out by a small team of Google designers, each product team is finding its way to a consistent and forward-looking design language thanks to a surprising process…they’re talking to each other.”
Also note that the mandate to focus on design came down from Larry Page himself…without support from the executive team these sorts of things have failed in the past at Google. And anecdotally, it might be hard to underestimate the publicity value of this shift for Google and their recruiting efforts…they are now seen as a much more design-friendly place to work.
hat tip: @anandrajaram