Friday, January 13, 2012

[ ] Google Wins

First of all let me say this; I love Google. I think they've done a lot of incredibly good stuff making the internet a much better place over the last decade or so. There are some things I don't like about them (like head hunting my entire Oracle group and de-railing my entire software development career, general arrogance, and being the entire reason I live in Souther California with someone who routinely comes home from work at 10pm and isn't done yet), but generally when it comes to products I think they get it right pretty much every single time. Sure Buzz was a complete cluster fuck and I hated it like just about everyone else, but that was a while ago and I'd basically forgotten about it. Until now.

About a week ago I logged into gmail for the first time in a few days (like 90% of my communication these days is done from my phone or iPad; I very seldom actually use my laptop for anything) and was just blown away by how awful the new user interface is. Like, it's stunningly terrible. There is no contrast, there are no boarders, and the moved everything around seemingly just for the hell of it. Apparently the new UI movement is called "kennedy" or some such, and it has been generally met with unbelievable displeasure across the board. But for some reason (probably arrogance) the company is moving forward with it. OK, fine, that I could kind of deal with. The UI on my email is now horrendous, but whatever I almost never use it and if it's really that bad they'll fix it eventually. But then just now I googled for images, I believe "end of the world" was the exact search, and what did I get? A bunch of pictures taken by a "college" friend"(where I use the term loosely since if I'm not mistaken I graduated before he enrolled) that have absolutely NOTHING to do with what I'm looking for (which happens to be a picture of the Earth exploding that I intend to use to bust that_pope's balls). There is no possible way this could ever be what I want to be shown, but the first twelve images, taking up nearly half my screen, are from his web album on google plus (which admittedly is titled "the end of the world in new jersey" or some such).

I don't really know what the point is, but I'm taking a sick satisfaction in them slowly but surely starting to make pretty big mistakes. That's probably wrong of me, but I can't help it if I'm bitter and jealous about the entire situation. OK that's not really true either, but whatever. Danielle is about to get home from her 4 day business trip to some mountain camp in Santa Cruz where they sang Kumbi Ya and drank Koolaid all weekend, which come to think of it....


Private Joker said...

I hated the new IMDb. I hated the new Metacritic. It seems almost every website that redesigns their look makes it awful. You never hear "Wow, that redsign looks awesome!"

That is, until Gmail. I immediately thought it was way better -- crisp, clean, pleasant, smooth, fluid. And everyone else I know who uses Gmail agreed with me. Then after a couple months I found one guy who just switched over to the new look and thought it was ghastly. After a week he changed his tune once he found out where the buttons were.

The point is, people hate change. They hate change so much that even when it's for the better, they resist for a while until it's obvious that they were left in the dust being stubborn. I'm not saying all change is good -- remember, Metacritic and IMDb suck now -- but when change IS good (as in the rare case where a website redesign is an improvement), nobody wants to give it credit.

I <3 the new Gmail and actually find myself using more of Google (reader, images, mail, etc.) more often because the site is so easy on the eyes and the fingers.

[x] Google Wins.

Bike40Player said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bike40Player said...

Good call on Steelers making it out of the first round and niners losing to the saints

Dave said...

I agree with you, Jesse, about Gmail, despite Joker's valid points. In fact, my initial reaction to the Gmail changes was disgust, but since I knew that it might just be resistance to change, I decided to give it some time...and I still hate it and agree with all of your complaints, Jesse. It's not just change that's an issue, but if you defy enough UI conventions, you reduce usability overall, even if those changes are individually justifiable.

Here's the search culprit, Jesse: