Google has had an on-again, off-again relationship with home automation for quite a while now. From Android at Home to PowerMeter, to EnergySense, to the acquisition of Nest - all but the Nest acquisition having virtually vanished from the radar.
A while ago, I wrote about some leaked screenshots from a functional app called EnergySense, that would work with third party hardware (like thermostats) to give you greater interior climate control while on the go, all with a very simple, cartoonish interface. After Google's Nest buy, the project was promptly shuttered.
Today, Christopher Bettig, an Art Director at Google, posted a ton of illustrations to Behance showing explorations of weather, settings, and control for the app - at the time called Home IQ - and it is quite possibly the most Googley design I have ever seen for an app. You can see the full gallery here, but take a look at some of the shots below.
Looking back at my post on Google's visual asset design guidelines, it's easy to pick out some of the influences behind the app's design. The front-facing geometric shapes, use of the official color palette (linked for download in the post linked above), round objects given dimension with stark shading, and hard 45-degree shadows all make an appearance.
It's tough to say whether this would be a stellar interface. I'm inclined to think it would be fun to use, and there's no doubt that things like the cards in the settings menu would be more polished by the time of release. What is clear is that Google was going for a simple, minimal, readable interface that required minimal cognitive load to operate, and made its functionality clear right away.
Whatever the case, it's too bad the general public won't get to use this app. But I wouldn't be surprised if we saw something similar in the future.