Google Reader—trusty stead of many a professional blogger, researcher, and text-obsessed office drone—has gone and gotten itself its hair did. Google gave Reader a makeover; imagine Michael Jackson’s skin pigmentation efforts delivered through G+ after only having ever seen the “Billy Jean” video, and you have yourself an idea of what the change is akin to. The people, let us tell you, are not happy. A sampling?
Google Reader is causing chaos in the streets!
Google Reader is making website editors type in ALL CAPS!
Google Reader’s face is under assault!
Google Reader is upsetting people on other sides of the world with less freedom than America!
Google Reader is giving people an awful case of the sadface!
Google Reader is causing Twitter rage, resulting in ALL-CAPS bad words!
The agony! Google Reader is causing many negative emotions! How can they do such a thing? And why are all of these people freaking out over an RSS Reader?
A former Google product manager on Google Reader named Brian Shih—who can basically lay further claim to the old face of Google Reader than any of these folks—actually blogged about it. And what does he think? Well, he titled his blog post “Reader redesign: Terrible decision, or worst decision?” Highlights, emphasis ours:
- “When you log into Reader, what the hell do you think your primary objective is? Did you answer ‘stare at a giant header bar with no real estate saved for actual reading’?”
- “Taking the UI paradigm for G+ and mashing it onto Reader without any apparent regard for the underlying function is awful and it shows.”
- “It’s almost as if Google wants to demonstrate that, yes, they don’t really get platforms.”
- “After I left Google in July, I heard that there was renewed effort around the project and that a new team was bringing some much-needed attention to the product. I expected them to give the product a facelift, and integrate G+ — both things that needed to happen. But killing off functionality that could have easily been built on top of G+, and missing the mark by so much on the UI… and then releasing them under the guise of improvements?”
So, yes, everybody hates Google Reader. Do you hate Google Reader? Do you have any ways to markedly improve the experience or to help the world live in the past? Do you just need someone to talk to about this? Betabeat is here for you. Especially if you work at Google and have any insight to share with us about what it’s like to have everybody hate on your shit today.