Data drives Google design

I loved this New York Times in-depth piece from Friday's issue, about how Google's design decisions are driven more by data than anything else. It's all about using analytics to test how popular various designs are, but one Google designer, Douglas Bowman, got frustrated by being hemmed in by what users want -- or what they think they want.  Basically, users are "crowdsourcing" by collectively deciding how to design products, but designers say this limits any "bold leaps" in terms of design.

The approach obviously works well for Google...but I wonder whether it would work well for most marketers. And don't worry about Douglas Bowman -- he's now creative director at Twitter.
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