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Google wants to venture in the large appliances industry starting with refrigerator. As a PM in Google, how would you go about designing a Smart Refrigerator for launch in USA.
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in Product Design by (12 points) | 251 views

2 Answers

+3 votes

Google wants to venture in the large appliances industry starting with refrigerator. As a PM in Google, how would you go about designing a Smart Refrigerator for launch in USA.

Questions for the interviewer

When you say fridge I'm assuming this is for personal use and not industrial user - interviewer agrees

I'm assuming that this can potentially plug into other google eco system products - interviewer agrees

What's the goal here - ship a great product in general for the customer or is it distribution/monetisation, assuming it's the former 

Google's goal is to organise the information of the world and also make it useful, it has a number of tools already at it's disposal and we can leverage them as well such as computer vision, AI/ML etc

Let's talk about customers for this product 

Where is the product used - at homes, usually in the kitchen but can be in other places of the homes but close to the kitchen

What is it used for - storage of raw veggies, packed goods, sometimes even medicine, eggs, dairy, cooked food, frozen and unfrozen

Who uses it - 

Children - usually use it take out cooked food for consumption, raw products usually when they are helping someone cook

Adults/parent - Storage: Store veggies/perishable/cooked food and also usually use it to take out stored cooked food for consumption by self

Decision makers on the purchase of the fridge

Househelp - Storage: Store veggies/perishable/cooked food and also take out stored food for consumption of others/self

I want to focus on the parent persona since it has the highest reach and also happens to be the decision maker in the fridge purchase decision.

What are the pain points of this persona

I will break it down into section basis cohort of the activity

- Storage/purchase of the product

- Forgetting to re-purchase: I often realise I'm out of something only after I need it example, I needed cheese for a sandwich but realised that the cheese was out/expired for a few days not but didn't notice since I didn't need it 

- Food quality:  Not sure if I can consumer a particular product since I didn't remember when I stored it/ I wasn't the one who stored it 

- Expiry reminder: I realise that I had something stored has expired ONLY after it has expired

-Storage instructions: Not sure how to store certain products for example tomato are best stored outside the fridge/where there is space in the fridge

-Restrictions: I dont want the kids trying to eat something spicy that's only meant for adults so I want to able to ensure that 

-Ordering: there's a lot of friction in ordering a top up for the products you're out of 

- Modularity: Often what can be stored in what section is fixed and universal example if I want to storage greens I need to store in the fruit tray since the temp are suited only there, besides even if I can tweak it then it's a manual process and I'm not sure what to set the temp to 

-Day to day use

- Powermanagement: Sometimes the frifdge can have a higher temp ( in winters) so it should be able to adjust power consumption in line with contents ( suggest it to the user)

-What to cook: often figuring out what to cook is an iterative process, I need to constantly look for all things one by one and then decide what to make ( also need to be inline wit who the person is cooking for)

-How to cook: Sometimes I may not know how to cook the ingredients 



I'm assuming tools needed to solve the above problem already exist since 

Purchase Reminder: Reminding the user to purchase something they have run out of/about to run out of. THis can sync with google assistant and remind you when you're at a supermarket/near one or build a shopping list

High frequency use case, high impact, high confidence, medium complexity : PICK

Food quality reminder/alerts: Reminding the user that something is about to expire/has already expired. It ties in with the purchase reminder theme. This again can plug into google assistance 

It needs to be able to do this for cooked food, perishable and packaged foods

Medium frequency use case, high impact, high confidence, High complexity: PICK

Storage instructions: Automated storage instructions, telling the user where a certain product should be stored/how

High frequency use case, high impact,  high confidence, medium complexity: PICK

Restrictions: Alerting when the wrong user/restricted picks up an item not meant for them, I see limited potential and potentially a use case that may raise privacy concerns because this would mean we have some form of facial recognition. This also isn't need for our TG who are using the fridge themselves, This can plug into google assitant for alerting/set up 

Low frequency use case, medium impact, medium confidence, high complexity: Research post MVP and decide 

Ordering: This will leverage the purchase reminders use case and requires business development/integration with partners which is a lot smoother/easier if you already have a base of customers. In addition Im not sure if people will use this intitally . Needs integration of google assistant with delivery partners

Medium frequency use case, medium impact, medium confidence, medium effort: Do not pick, explore this post MVP

Modularity: I'm not sure about the reach of this feature since most fridges are optimised around this use 

Low frequency use case, medium impact, low confidence, high effort( hardware implications): Do not pick 

Day to day:

What to cook: I see this as a quick win and an innovative feature, allowing the user to explore choices , this also needs to be include how to cook to ensure completeness of the feature since sometimes the users may not know the instructions for a new dish. organic fit for youtube(cooking videos) and g assitant

Medium frequency use case, high impact, medium confidence ( since experimental), medium effort ( leverages already picked features)

Power consumption management: Fridge auto recommends temps and why that's the case , users can approve or reject it, should integrate with google assistant. saves the user electricity bill

Medium frequency use case, high impact, high confidences ( saves $$) and medium complexity( leverages other scoped features): PICK

To summarise 

We'll also for purchase reminders with G assistant integration, expiration reminder with G assistant integration, storage instructions, power consumption management with g assitant integration and what to cook feature with youtube integration for recipes and g assistant integartion 

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by (163 points)
+2 votes

Launch Smart fridge in USA


Understand users


  • Kids (0-10)

  • Young (15-50) ~ main user to focus on working professionals

  • Old (60+)


Assumption - Power user is working professional who control how to use fridge



  • Keep various type of content in an organized way

    • raw (fruits, vegetables)

    • cooked food

    • processed food - sauce/ketchups, meat, diary

    • water

    • Freezing - ice cream, ice cubes

  • Should be able to find them easily

  • Should know what is currently present in fridge (know what’s present w/o going to fridge)

    • When i am hungry at odd hours - eat it quickly

    • When i want to cook - do i have all the ingredients (in order to refill / order again)


User pain points

  1. I forgot to fill ice trays

  2. I cant keep things organized in fridge

  3. I need to know what i have at present so that i can cook items quickly

  4. I should be able to refill inventory when depleted

  5. I should be able to clean fridge easily when it smells (health issues)

  6. I should be able to get cold water every time

  7. I should be able to de-freeze items that i want to cook / consume


Let’s pick 1, 3, 4, 5



Case 1- When ice is ready, i should go to ice tray and the empty tray should get filled again automatically so that i always have ice in fridge. 


Case 3- Fridge should notify me what items i have - 

  • image processing (to understand what and how much is present). 

  • I should be notified on my phone (smart fridge app) when a particular set inventory goes down to repurchase the items.

Case 4 - refill

  • App should show me how can i repurchase those items (show ecommerce websites- online shops or order via phone call to shops - offline shop near by me)

  • App should auto order based on a rule set by user; for essential items (if required).  


Case 5- smell detector / age detector of items

  • Fridge should notify app and make sound when a foul smell is detected

  • Fridge should also suggest items which went bad and to be taken out of fridge. 

  • Fridge should suggest items present in fridge for long and should be consumed w/ caution.





Time to implement

Overall score

Ice refill auto




Image processing




Alerts on phone




Shop for inventory




Auto order




Smell detector




Suggest item to remove




Food health




(value - 10 is high, 0 is low, Time to implement - 10 easy, 0 difficult) 



Based on priority we should do 

  • shop for inventory 

  • Ice refill auto

  • Alert on phone

  • Smell detector

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by (65 points)
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