The new Google Reader

Pass the crow, please.

Last week, I noted that the hullaballoo about the impending changes to Google Reader were likely overblown.  Insofar as we’re talking about the sharing and social features migrating to Google+, it probably is overblown.  But the new user interface stinks.  From Google’s official blog:

A new look and feel that’s cleaner, faster, and nicer to look at.

Cleaner?  I guess.  Faster?  Not in my experience so far.  Easier to look at?  I don’t use Google Reader to look, I use it to read.

The functionality of the old interface is completely lost.  The buttons are all in the wrong place.  Simple features (such as ‘mark as unread’) are nowhere to be found. The color scheme is harder to read, fewer RSS items appear on my screen, the spacing is awkward, there’s excessive and wasted blank space, the hierarchy of information is all wrong (why is the subscribe button so big and red?), etc.

What a mess.

The least Google can do is to offer users the option to retain the old interface.  Gmail offers this for users (via themes), Google Docs and Google Calendar’s recent interface redesigns offer the option to switch to the older, more compact, more information-dense interface as well.  Google should make the same option available for reader, or I’m going to be in the market for a new RSS feed reader.

The initial reaction isn’t good.  Not that most UI changes are universally embraced, but this is more than a Garth Algar ‘we fear change‘ moment – this is a step backwards in utility.

Pass the crow.  For the time being, the reader items in the sidebar won’t be updating.

2 comments to The new Google Reader

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