One of the benefits of having a blog is that you can rant. This is a runt of a rant, but I would love to hear what you think! -W
Ed note: Within 48 hours of release, Google has delivered many of the changes that I and other power users requested. Was this being responsive, or delivering an incomplete solution? Was Google looking at Twitter and Facebook for direction?
iGoogle, the personalized home page of Google users had a makeover this week. While many users like the left navigation bar and expanded story previews, power users like myself (with 9 tabs full of RSS feeds) are not as happy.
I check my iGoogle for the latest in business, marketing, analytics, news, and industry groups. I look for the latest in social media and ideas from a gaggle of blogs (or is it a “buck-it” of blogs?). That’s how I stay up on more information that a person should know.
Google was trying to accomplish several objectives with the redesign. Clearly, making it easier for novice users to add content was key. It’s much easier to add good looking content with new widgets from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, among others. Games, entertainment and other elements are much easier to add to iGoogle, according to their official blog.
There may also be more timely content updates than the older version, but that comes from reading between the lines.
Sometimes, less is more. The navigation bar has been moved from the top of the page to the left, and content boxes that used to show just the short summary of a story now show more text. That means power users have to read through a lot more, just to move through the screen. I’ve resized the screen in my browser just to cope with this. Others are writing scripts to change the display and collapse the new menu. (I’m not posting the links as I don’t know the safety factor of the scripts).
The new look also opens a new development platform. This should have major long term benefits to users with more applications for the platform. As Google is generally as master of features and usability, this should be fun to see.
Let get real for a second. Everyone wants new toys but nobody wants to change. Actually, I generally do. I even was okay with the new Facebook. And they did add a few more features to the edit function, generally to keep you more engaged and adding more content.
Mr. or Ms. Google. Please let me fold the stories to just the first 12 words or so. Please let me slide the left navigation menu in and out all AJAX-like. And please, don’t make me code something to do it. I would rather volunteer my time than code something that should work. Thank you.