Thursday, November 3, 2011

Google Reader Redesign: A Disaster

A few days ago when I logged into my reader account and saw the new visual changes, I hated Google immediately for it. I spend more time within reader than I do on Facebook these days, and even of Twitter sometimes, but the new redesign of reader repels me more than the engagement it brings. I stand to believe that just as it was discovered than some Google execs don't use G+, the same also applies to whoever did the redesign because reading in reader these days is not soothing at all. It tires the person reading easily and makes me just scan through and close the window immediately. I'm not alone on this anyway; Brian Shih,  a former Project Manager on Google Reader also shares the same thought with me
In the name of visual consistency, Google has updated the visual style to match Gmail, Calendar and Docs. I have nothing against visual consistency (and in fact, this something that Google should be doing), but it's as if whoever made the update did so without ever actually using the product to, you know, read something.
Kevin Fox, a former lead designer for Google Reader also disagrees with the new redesign and is offering his services to Google to help enhance and restore the utility of Google Reader, while keeping it in line with Google’s new visual standards requirements. He's even willing to go an extra mile and put his current projects on hold to ensure that Google Reader keeps its place as the premier news reader.
And so I put my resources where my mouth is. As the former lead designer for Google Reader, I offer my services to Google, rejoining for a three month contract in order to restore and enhance the utility of Google Reader, while keeping it in line with Google’s new visual standards requirements. I will put my current projects on hold to ensure that Google Reader keeps its place as the premier news reader, and raises the bar of what a social newsreader can be.
 I know it's all about Google+ that these is happening; just as Google killed it's other plus, which was immensely useful for search, all because of Google+. I know the baseline matters, but keeping your users or customers happy also does.
Google+ is the fastest-growing social network in history, with 40 million users since its June launch. To help them focus, Google's quietly shuttered a number of products, removing iGoogle and Google Reader's social features and closing Google Labs, Buzz, Jaiku and Code Search in the last two weeks alone.
But in doing so, they also killed off one of its oldest and most useful tools, from its most popular product.
On Wednesday, Google retired a longer-standing "plus": the + operator, a standard bit of syntax used to force words and phrases to appear in search results. The operator was part of Google since its launch in 1997 and built into every search engine since.
I hope Google doesn't kill off everything besides Google+ with this act of killing everything in its path they've embarked upon.

So Google, some of us seriously dig the old reader, even though it could do with some improvements, but I believe you don't have to force G+ down our throats like you're doing with almost everything. There are better ways to engage us than the way you're doing it.

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