Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Google's new look

Google's new look and feel is driving me crazy.
Google has been "improving" the look and feel of their different pages as they integrate different services with Google Plus. I think in general the changes are for the worse, but there's one change in particular that is horrible. The new look involves lots more vertical whitespace, which results in less information per page.


This is the new Google Reader look. I can now see only 13 items on a page (15" laptop screen with 1360x768 resolution). I find it virtually unusable. I like to scan all the items on a page and decide if I want to read any of them, or mark them all as unread. This new look will require a lot more work to do that.

Other Google services are similar. In Google Calendar, I like to use the 2-week view, and I estimate that (on my screen) each day can only hold 11 items, compared to 15 in the classic view. What's worse, I can only see about 3 of my "Other Calendars" at once, compared to 10 in the classic view. Google Docs now displays 20 documents instead of 22. I can no longer remember the old Gmail look, so I'm not sure what the change is there, but it doesn't seem as bad.

I get that in a service like Google Plus, more vertical whitespace might be nice to the eyes, and density of information is not necessarily as important, especially when shared items are often a paragraph or more. But services like Reader, Calendar, and even Docs are all about providing lots of information in a small amount of space, and this extra whitespace makes them much harder to use.

Update: I found Google Reader Absolutely Compact for Chrome (HT: Lifehacker) which looks promising. Also I see the Gmail redesign is yet to come. Great.