Little Signals: Google’s crazy idea to revolutionize our connected objects

Google’s latest smart home device is an army of tiny things called Little Signals. These six particular objects constitute a family of conceptual products, each one having unique functions, but all having a common objective: to communicate with you differently and organically.


  • Google has launched the Little Signals project which combines connected home and digital well-being
  • The project includes six concepts of connected objects for your smart home

Little Signals is a Google project designed in collaboration with Map Project Office. While adapting to the environment, each Little Signal has its own design and a sensory approach to send you notifications or interact with you.

According to Google, the lens is based on Calm technology, the idea of ​​which is to reconcile digital with digital well-being by maintaining a certain harmony in your environment. A concept that is a little closer to that of ambient computing with which Nothing flirts, among others. In short, the idea of ​​a technology that is the least intrusive possible.

Each Little Signal connected object has unique functions

In addition, the initiative is to keep users connected to different digital content, similar to what a basic connected home device can do. For example, the Air object uses pulses of air to move nearby objects in its area to let you know if it’s time to water the plants or if someone is at your door to deliver a package. There are countless ways users could program each object based on the physical models the object could produce.

Air and Rhythm smart objects from Google’s Little Signals project. / © Map Project Office

Perhaps the most functional device in the project is the button, as it combines visual and audible cues to create patterns. The button functions as both a digital input device and a physical notification hub that produces sweet sounds. The height of the button adjusts depending on the amount of information that has arrived. By turning the button in the left or right direction, one can also give a command to the object.

The Tap is a simple cylinder with a swinging arm, but it can generate different levels of sound by tapping on an object or surface. There are also different levels of tapping, with louder ones signifying more important news. It is also possible to use the Tap to remind you to take your medicine, as long as it is placed next to the object.

Google Little Signal Smart Object Rhythm Air Shadow Button Movement Tap

Both Button and Tap objects use mechanical patterns and sounds to notify users. / © Map Project Office

Furthermore, the Movement object transmits messages through the use of several legs or pegs. Each peg can represent information such as a timer or an input for a command. In any case, the legs will work individually or in groups.

Finally, Shadow is like a connected lamp that communicates through the amount and flow of shadow it casts. On the other hand, Rhythm is a smart speaker similar to Echo Dot and Nest Audio, but plays different ambient sounds to notify users. It can also be controlled by a wave gesture or by flipping it.

Google Little Signal Smart Object Rhythm Air Shadow Button Movement Tap

Shadow and Rhythm are a connected lamp and speaker respectively, but they work in ambient patterns. / © Map Project Office

Although these Little Signal smart objects might not fully replace your smart home ecosystem in the future. Google, however, might bring some different features to its future Nest products one way or another.

Which of the Little Signals devices has the most useful features that you can’t wait to see on a real smart home device?

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