Updated: July 7, 2011
Poetic justice strikes again. Or rather, the world flies by as the smallest violin gently weeps. That's the best way to summarize the new Google search looks and/or the new social sharing service launched by Google called Google+, following some four or five similar attempts in the last two years, will you take a hint already? What happened to the glorious company that used to pump out one goodie after another, no one really knows. But I'm sure going to enjoy myself writing this piece.
It all begins more or less in April this year, when the stock plunged some 20% in a single day. Possibly coincides with the new CEO election, who was rather naughty to the press. And then, there was the Panda release, which starts to appear to be a collective cut of losses, data center blackout, code incompetence, inability to admit failure, and a personal spite against high-quality websites out there, or something else entirely. But that's just the first part of this giant poetic justice. Let's have fun.
Google Plus (Google+)
Facebook is unto Google what Chrome is unto Firefox. In other words, someone has an attitude problem and not really sure how to cope. Panic makes for bad business decisions, and the new social service by Google is the best example. It says:
Google+ project aims to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life ...
Really, does it now? Like in real life? You mean you go to someone's house and you share your thoughts and ideas and property with them? No? Then, it's probably not like in real life. More like Failbook, ahem, amirite?
But never mind my lack of optimism. You ought to take the demo. Which I tried. Not only was it completely boring and un-unique, it was also created in Adobe Flash, the one technology that Google is fighting against. But I don't see HTML5 anywhere, is it because empty yet chivalrous talk is one thing, getting things done is another? And just so we are clear, I tried this on a brand new Firefox 4 installation in a Linux distro, what can be more open than that?
How's that? Technology aside, things are being explained to me as if I'm sort of an oligophren learning social interaction for the very first time. Sharing different things with different people. Captain Obvious at hard work. Circles. You put people in circles. Maybe we ought to put circles on people, how's that for branding? Helping make distinctive choices for people surrounding you. I'm waiting for the first bored American to proclaim the new technology racist and file a lawsuit. That's going to be awesome fun.
You can also spark and huddle. And when you're feelin' ready for chillin' like a pro, you can hangout in the virtual world and pretend to have friends, whereas the reality is more like the image below, in fact, more like what Google feels right now:
If anything, this is an admission to Facebook: you is winning.
New Google looks
Just a few days ago, I woke up and realized that DNS changes and Web caches have finally graced me with Google's new interface. This time, the annoyance level is of supreme mastery, as normal looks were traded for yet another quasi-cloudish abomination that's supposed to be classy, but it's grainy and unreadable. It's worse on Windows than Linux, but that's just luck, I guess.
The contrast is not good enough - it's hard for the eyes. The bold-like font conflicts with subpixel optimization on most LCDs, so you get a grainy look that is annoying and even hurtful for your precious eyes. The black and orange theming conflicts with Google's cheerful, colorful logo and the generally white emphasis.
The worst part is, they have moved the green URL strings in searches just below the underlined blue hyperlinked search entries. Previously, they featured below the explanation text, so you had some separation of content logic and color.
This was before:
Better text and color contrast overall, consistent with Google's spirit. Reading search results is also much easier, because you focus on human-descriptive text first rather than little green URL addresses, which are often meaningless. And there was consistency with other search engines.
So, the new theme is worse for the eyes, worse for the logic. A failure, in technical lexicon, but may no one say that Google did not do their annual mandatory refresh and change things for the sake of change, because we all know that companies that make changes are companies busy making changes, and being busy means you're busy, so you must be doing something, and doing is good, because it makes you look productive, and productive means you are producting things, and things are good, and good is good, so all is good.
Aesthetics are all nice and well - but not when they clash with ergonomics, plus the overall quality and relevance of displayed results is going downhill. But the important thing is, they moved the green text up, so someone ought to receive a divisional award for being such a smart and productive little borg.
Google+ seems like something filched out of the abortion clinic and wrapped in shiny cellophane. But they still haven't figured out how embarrassing this thing is, so no one is still trying to hide it. If the past four or five failures haven't really dropped the Hint Hammer on the little pinky, then this one ought to do it.
The new interface change is what Google did with Youtube. Another big unneeded. Stop making changes because you're bored and/or in panic, hire artists who actually understand their stuff and focus on sanity and functionality. No one cares if your buttons are round or gray.
This makes me sad. No, not really. This makes me rather indifferent. But it's fun seeing people struggle with the limits of their own creativity and the loss of Elan, that's a French word right there, without the little tick, because Google used to be about passion and good things. And I wouldn't be writing this if not for the small personal slight I took when the giant swiped at my own creativity and smeared it in SEO-bullshit by preferring scrap sites and copycats over high quality content. Well, as Arnold says, this is poetic justice. Oh indeed. My limitless brain will continue to amuse itself endlessly, but I'm not sure what the future has in store for No.1 site out there. The last two inventions hardly bode well for Google.