Sometime in the last few years, Google started doing that very thing in their search results. After 1-3 seconds, sometimes a widget pops up which pushes all the search results down. I have countless times gone to click a URL after 2 seconds of searching and had it suddenly move and end up on a different website.
It's incredibly disconcerting. Because of the inconsistency, I've become hesitant and scared to click anything for the first ten seconds of loading the page. I'm being habituated by negative stimulus. Nothing has ever made me want to ditch Google search more strongly because it's now literally giving me anxiety to view the search results.
Anyone who was in charge at Google and had good design sense is long gone, and an empty-headed cargo cult remains.
P.S. I organize my bookmarks bar by favicon color without labels. Gmail was fourth, after the EFF, Youtube, and SMBC. Now I will be kicking gmail to the end of the bar with the rest of the multi-colored icons which can't be sorted and remain indistinguishable from each other. I may be a small data point but Google just effectively killed their premium placement in my bookmarks which will lead to checking my web mail less frequently.
> Because of the inconsistency, I've become hesitant and scared to click anything for the first ten seconds of loading the page. I'm being habituated by negative stimulus. Nothing has ever made me want to ditch Google search more strongly because it's now literally giving me anxiety to view the search results.
I resonate with this so much. It offends me in the worst way - it makes me waste my time. Not only when I search something, but on other places too! "Will the content change before I click or not? I don't know, so I better wait a few seconds". Even if a page is not an offender of doing this, I've already been conditioned into waiting.
It's frustrating and it's infuriating. We have ever more powerful computers, and yet interfacing with them feels slower and slower.
Things like this made Google good stewards of the web.
Do Google engineers not read their own design docs anymore? It almost feels as if the move was intentionally sinister and engineered as a sadistic A/B test.
People spend so much time making their pages look, work and feel better but then turn around and add a shitty, badly designed cookie consent that ruins that whole experience.
Google Search’s addition of that dynamically-appearing widget two years ago was the primary reason I switched to DuckDuckGo.
The least they can do is push it to a second column on desktop and to the bottom on mobile.
Load page. Click -> oops, some element pushed the content down, sorry, wrong link. Gotta go back. Like you, now I give pages time to cool down. It drives me nuts.
The worst offender in my mind are async suggestions loaded on keypress on mobile. Maybe I've got 8% battery left so the CPU got throttled, maybe there's additional network latency right now - whatever it is, too often the result is that the rug gets pulled from under my finger just as I am about to tap on an item in the list.
They have a whole site dedicated to this. I tried asking the authors why Google does it themselves, but no answer that time.
Of course, by only punishing the peasants for CLS, they can offer AMP as an easy alternative, or at the very least, streamline most of the internet to their liking without playing by those same rules themselves.
Otherwise, it's a great alternative and thanks for the shout out!
task description: some times users click a url after 2 seconds because it is the one they want, unfortunately this causes a serious decrease in exposure to customer ads, therefore it would be beneficial if we detect a user moving too quickly to click something unprofitable for us if we move the links in such a way as to increase profitable actions and decrease overall negative retention rates.
on edit: that's right, I'm so paranoid I think that song is about me.
But 90% of the time I tab over to Google and hit enter instead of letting it go through DDG because I already know Google will give me the technical resource I need.
DuckDuckGo also suffers from a readability problem. The text is less crisp, more rounded, the URL is switched with the page title and makes scanning URLs harder, which is my default. Little things like this keep me trapped.
Why do we listen to them about web standards again?
I mean we all agree Material looks like shit, right?
I dislike the redesign as well, but this paragraph is very much a "Hacker News Moment" :)
It's very frustrating when you are in a hury and you click on the wrong address because just a moment ago they updated the drop down list
Spotify and twitter do it as well. (Reading an interesting tweet while the timeline refreshes, and then it's gone; it might even be some kind of non-followed dynamically pushed content that you don't easily find again).
That is closely related with the slightly less obnoxious practice of repositioning things after an explicit reload or re-entry (but this is still annoying): In spotify, if you click on a playlist, return to home view, the order of playlists in the home view has now been "updated".
Sounds like A&B testing measuring which gives you more ad revenue and zero biological brain cell activity involved.
It's not necessarily anything new for Google though. I remember for years on YouTube there would be a giant square ad to the right of YouTube videos that would pop in after a few seconds and push the recommended videos all down, so you'd frequently go to click a video and suddenly an ad pops under your cursor and you click that instead
This appears to be the norm, not the exception, in most mobile pages I reluctantly visit. I don't understand how mobile website developers can stand to work on their own sites--I give up in frustration after about 10 seconds.
I don't know how you haven't encountered that yet until recently, but that quirk has existed for all of the ~15 years I've been using Google.
* I use the iPhone app
Well, on products at least, I have a theory: there used to be "Google Labs", an interesting selection of experimental projects that you knew were experimental and perhaps not permanent.
Then they killed off Labs, and it's like everything that would previously been housed there is now released as if it's a fully fledge and supported service, only Google knows it's really just a "Lab" experiment.
As a result, when those things get killed, it's much more against expectations, so it hits harder. Though perhaps not as much anymore now that we all expect it.
This leads to an adoption problem: previously, a Lab that got enough attention might see a true release or be merged as a feature into an existing service. You could use it, not rely on it, and root for it to succeed. Now it's all reversed. You don't want to try a new thing out, you can't ever rely on it, you have no way to distinguish a fully backed initiative from a spaghetti-hits-wall approach.
Basically, Google should resurrect Labs so people know where they stand on using these things.
They better hope the ad revenue keeps printing money.
It’s possible they could fix this (Microsoft did), but the direction doesn’t look great.
This is what happened inside Yahoo as it was imploding. Every team wanted their own dev library/graphics/app style to "win" internally. It resulted in very arrogant dev & project leads fighting with each other for no customer benefit.
It's the same in Academia though. "In the heart of every Vice Chancellor lies an Architect". Gotta build a new building so you can put your name on it.
Haha, interesting analogy! (Math professor here.)
I'd say in many ways it's the same, but with one key difference. While administrators are fighting to push their visions, many faculty members tune out, do whatever work it is they want to do, and pretty much ignore what is going on overall at their institutions.
If you read Inside Higher Ed or the Chronicle of Higher Education, then you can read accounts of university leaders who were brought in to push for big changes, who boldly announced a change of direction, ... and who were simply ignored and then quit.
Can't remember when was the last time Microsoft pulled off a new successful consumer ready product or significantly improved an existing one.
Xbox Game Pass is a good idea and the series X also looks like a good bet.
Buying GitHub was smart, WSL is also a very positive move for developers.
Azure is in second place behind AWS with Google a distant third.
Typescript is doing really well too.
That’s a lot of positive moves around a coherent strategy.
Stratechery goes into more detail, and I think makes a pretty compelling case.
It’s not comparable to IBM in my opinion, I think MSFT has really righted the ship - I think they’re in a strong position for the future.
Well, that's fine, next manager now has chance to improve brand recognition and impress top management.
I am only interested in disintegration.
Google has failed my trust.
The change seems happened during the time when Google was switching focus away from "been cool" to profitability. The business reason behind it was probably that Google don't want leak any hit about what they were up to, because a leak may cost a major growth opportunity that is unknown to them when they started the experiment.
I replaced it with a combination of Shaarli for links and Standard Notes for everything else.
My goal for the last year was to be off as many google services as possible by the end of next year, and they've been making it surprisingly easy for me. All I really had left at this point was Google Play Music and Google Keep (apart from android itself and gmail, which I'm working on). If they phase these two products out, they will have alienated me out of every product of theirs I've ever used. They're already consolidating google play with youtube music (which is bizarre to me).
The hardest to cut will probably be gmail, but the fact that they slip advertisements into my inboxes has been pretty motivating. Youtube is also difficult, but as a resource it seems to somehow become less and less useful to me every year. I know that subscribing to youtube channels via RSS and using a program to automatically download the videos doesn't count as 'not using youtube,' but these days I'm starting to feel like content creators will get there eventually wrt video hosting alternatives
- Open source
- Encryption at rest when using a cloud service for syncing
- Apps for all major platforms
> Now I have to migrate all my notes off to another service :(
I'm glad I started migrating to one note.
Although it does feel like there is space for an app between one note and keep.
For example, if you search something in google, click a link, and then go back to the search page, after a very small delay, google will open a small box changing of "people also searched for" that changes the layout of the site and pushes other results down. This violates so many important norms of ux design. I hate it because it leads me to misclicking when I am trying to go through a bunch of links to find the right information.
A company develops market dominance to extract profit from more-or-less captive customers. The dominance allows the organization to abandon the UI/UX without giving the customer a similar change to abandon the company.
I'm consistenly amazed how the simple act of finding and buying a single product can become increasing unpleasant and difficult over time. Of course, I don't subscribe to Prime, have one-click purchasing activated, use their credit card, etc, etc. These completely artificial UX hurdles are just there to push further engagement with their ecosystem.
It's reached the point that even a monstrosity like Aliexpress feels like a clear, organised, efficient shopping experience by comparison.
And I've been pleased with product discovery as well. Their search algorithm seems to provide me with the things I'm looking for, even if I struggle to find the right query. Just a few days ago, I wanted to buy something to keep squirrels out of my garden. I just entered "squirrel protection for plants", and it returned exactly the kind of products I was looking for, even if the product name did not contain the words "squirrel", "protection", or "plants". I compared this to a couple of gardening supply sites, where nothing came up.
And there is absolutely nothing I've experienced that beats the user experience for returning an item from Amazon, which IMO is one of the most important things for any ecommerce site. I have no problem buying multiple items on Amazon with the intent of keeping just one because I know the return process will be extremely easy. Just click a button in the order history, then take the product to a UPS store and let them scan your phone - no printing, boxing, taping, or anything else to do. I would never do that with any other website. When I have had to return items elsewhere, I eventually received a refund, but only after having to email someone several times, take photos of the merchandise, provide extra information, box it up and tape it myself.
Hmm. I wonder if it is possible to create an extension that accomplished that with a brute force approach, by doing the following:
+ If a link is going to another domain, open it in a new tab, and hide the current tab without closing it.
+ Clicking the back button closes the new tab and unhides the original tab.
That ought to sidestep the effort needed to preserve and restore the state of the original page (which I've found unreliable), by only manipulating it's visibility.
Of course, hiding/revealing a single tab with an extension may not be possible, a cursory search doesn't give much encouragement (I suppose there are too many ways to abuse such an API). A workaround might be moving the tab to a hidden window (which is, now that I think of it, a common pattern for intrusive advertising) and back, instead.
Not sure I agree with that this is a useful endeavor. This just reeks of consistency for consistency sake.
The polar opposite approach to this philosophy is Amazon, where utility and function for what's best for the user is always prioritized. When I look at the Amazon app icons, Kindle looks drastically different from Amazon core vs. Amazon music (Alexa, etc. etc.) But they work well at what they do, and so who cares how the icons look, nor whether or not people know that Kindle is an Amazon brand.
This is just more evidence that Google Product Teams are shit, and are therefore trying to prioritize other ways to make an impact that is more visual.
Sidebar: the article didn't even talk about the travesty that is the Google TV icon...essentially the docs icon, but sideways...
Change for the sake of change.
This change provides exactly zero value to users, and in fact I see it as a step backwards, just as the article author suggests.
The previous icon for Google Docs was clearly a _document_. The new one is essentially an abstract rectangle that I _might_ recognize as a document, if I am really paying close attention.
The Hangouts icon previously conveyed the text chat nature with the speech bubble. This important distinction is gone, now implying that Hangouts is strictly a video chat platform.
It's now much easier to see my Google-related tabs and there is a decent consistency whereas before calendar, gmail, and drive looked totally different.
Sure, if "Google-related" is the meaningful category you're trying to distinguish from other tabs, rather than a particular task or application.
So, yes, branding-wise these logos all look related (inbred, even), but is that really the single most important quality for them to have? The outcome is that these logos aren't distinctive enough from each other, and have been abstracted to meaninglessness. A better balance between those two concerns could have been struck, primarily by relaxing the apparent constraint that every logo has to include every color.
The individual document types appear to have updated single-color icons. I see some of updated single color icons already in iOS (e.g. Docs/Sheets/Slides).
This redesign likely took several human-years to get out. It's not perfect. It might even be plain bad in your world, and that's fine. But the idea that we're always smarter than the person next to us is just not a healthy place to be in my opinion.
Assume good intent, you'll feel better about yourself and it'll spread to those around you as well.
Thats why we are so disappointed. Not changing the icons at all would have been so much better in every way.
Perhaps not in absolute terms but certainly there are degrees of objective correctness.
These new icons are like a door with a pull handle but a push sign. They add unnecessary mental load, directly undermining their purpose which is to be non-verbal methods of identifying something. Surely that's 'wrong" to some degree?
In this case it seems reasonable to suggest that similar colour and shape is a poor design choice.
Hopefully an accessbility setting can help here.
When I have to help one of them via phone or the Internet it's always a recital of trying to describe the icon, that they are supposed to click. I always have to tell either "third from the left", or "a rectangle with a triangle". If it's a text button it usually is simple, they can even enumerate the buttons.
Try helping someone without intimate knowledge of the thing they use or without visual aid and tell me that icons work.
Because with time I somehow learned to ignore domestic/neighbor sounds, marketing calls, etc, but not when your damn workflow stutters because you cannot distinguish a stupid icon. It is not a cynicism, it is a natural confusion. You don't appreciate every thing in your life, do you?
Welcome to the club
It's more like building a passive perception of belonging-together over a prolonged period of time, where this is only one step of many, resulting in a subtle shifting of the framing when the discussion happens.
And I can see it, tbh.
Now, I suppose they have the existential incentive to meld those tools into a cloud amoeba, for precisely the purpose that you mention.
I hope they get broken up, because maybe the new Gmail will go back to the older, better logo.
Take a look: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xX8pKlUiSkG10-zIGZeKda5A9qf....
I agree, and find it even more difficult to understand this design direction in our age of ever increasing screen resolutions.
My most recent defunct Google product: the Google Play Music app. A perfectly serviceable ad-free app to play my MP3 file collection - I'm an old-skool kind of guy, I was using the app only in "offline mode", without a subscription to the streaming service. I got some nag screens to subscribe from time to time, but other than that, it was great. Until Google decided to cancel the service in favor of an abomination called YouTube Music. And, of course, it couldn't just let the app work in offline mode without the service, it had to disable it via an update. Fortunately you can still use it by installing an old (hopefully unmodified) APK downloaded from one of the various (hopefully trustworthy) sites and disabling updates for the app. But let's see the bright side: maybe this will give the various music players created by individual developers a boost...
There is no subjectivity to when anyone says new logos are bad. I remember people were saying Airbnb's logo looks like a dong, thats pretty much the worst you could do as a designer, and now no one even cares. In fact its recognizable and unique. Its like telling someone they have a bad face. Ok what if the face has a crooked nose? its not symmetrical? Does that even matter? If its distinguishable and recognizable that's all you need.
At the end of the day its just branding. As long as you can get it to stick inside people's neurons then its doing its job.
Apple did the same thing with the iTunes interface (colors -> grey) even longer ago, and I just don't get it. Different colors are objectively good for the UX. It's information that gets instantly processed by your brain.
Do they really think that people do not write emails any more?
The TechCrunch article says "First I should say that I understand Google’s intent here, to unify the visual language of the various apps in its suite."
The need for redesign is justified, it might as well have been kickstarted by the new person on the big seat who probably due to his fresh perspective could put this in motion; but the execution and the end result did not turn out great.
However "useless" VPs are in general (debatable in this case - Javier Soltero has a great track record), this exercise would have been easily seen as a great step forward if the results were good and received great press.
“Understanding intent” is a far cry from justified.
I understand the intent for airlines to be profitable. It does not mean that I would find putting all of the passengers in coffins for easier transport to be justified.
If that is not clear, here is an example of Microsoft Office's excellent execution: https://medium.com/microsoft-design/redesigning-the-office-a...
So, if the idea behind icons is to quickly locate the tools you need, even if you are not super-familiar with the tools, I think the previous icons served that purpose much better.
For starters, each product has a distinct icon color, which in and of itself makes a huge difference in usability and the ability to quickly determine which icon to click. This is something the Google redesign fails completely on.
Secondly, every element behind the single-letter in each MS icon has distinctive elements that are related to the product. Excel actually has grid-cells to mimic worksheets in a minimalist fashion. Powerpoint has the pie-chart. One-Note has the fantastic minimalist binder with tabs in the background.
Between the unique color and graphical elements associated with each product, there is plenty that helps a user easily distinguish one from the other while they all still have a cohesive aesthetic.
I find it to be an outstanding redesign. In comparison, the Google redesign basically has almost none of the benefits above and makes it a lot harder to distinguish icons at a glance.
Even if I had memorized what every icon means, I can't tell them apart without looking closely because most have the same shape and similar colors. "Everything looks the same" is not good design.
I don't get where all the hatred is coming from beyond the knee jerk reaction that most humans hate to change. Most people tend to hate change and tend to react negatively to anything being changed.
For good redesigns, you’ll come out positive soon enough. For bad ones, never.
The move betrays the attitude that their users are not really seen or respected as human. It’s the same reason you can’t contact a human for support even if your entire digital existence gets algorithm’ed out of existence.
From the way I see it, the logos are just plain ugly. When they changed the logo before, I don't remember having an issue with it. https://1000logos.net/gmail-logo/
This is the same speech I give after I spraypaint graffiti on people's houses.
It was world class training. I imagine it's pretty solid information even before you take into account how well it fits with firsthand experience that most people just haaaaaaate change on principle, even if it turns out to be the right thing to do and they later decide it was for the best.
The original gmail logo was awesome. Clean, recognizable, clever, easy to integrate. Everything about it was incredibly well designed. I'll miss it.
Is what GP refers too
Yep, perfectly describes the stereotypical useless executive that wants to show results by making some surface level modification. I often see it where I work at a lower level with new managers who want to rename the departments under them. It means they can immediately say in their first performance review "I created department X!".
Part of the way I identify good managers is by whether or not they do such a thing, or whether they wait a year to fully understand things before making more substantive changes. Or you know just running things normally, looking for those incremental improvements that add up over time in a bigger way.
That left the rest of the build mostly unscathed from input from the publisher. As I heard it told it was a fairly successful approach.
> That left the rest of the build mostly unscathed from input from the publisher. As I heard it told it was a fairly successful approach.
David Siegel in Secrets of Successful Websites (1997) called them "neck bolts".
On the other hand is does describe what Google does which is constantly change/close its offerings in a way nobody wanted or asked for.
- Google, probably
With a sprawling org like Google I sometimes wonder how you could ever expect the CEO to be fully engaged on all of it. It is probably just impossible. The best companies seem to involve a certain passion and enthusiasm on the part of the CEO.
I thought the same thing you did when I read Javier Soltero's quotes in this article, so I dug into him a bit. If you look into what he's been saying for awhile, you'll see this is all part of an effort to integrate Google applications. He's given several interviews where he's stated this pretty plainly, and I actually buy it. Think about it--over the last few months we've all been seeing that if, push comes to shove, remote work is 100% possible for a lot of IT businesses. If he manages to successfully integrate Gmail, Hangouts Chat, and Hangouts Meet, he effectively uses Google's brand and engineering knowledge to compete with Slack and Microsoft Teams and targets this market directly as opposed to letting their various products fall behind how people are actually using productivity tools. He's making Google's products actually compelling to use by focusing on integrating them (Apple's core strength) and making them smart enough to feel as though they get the work you're doing (Google's strength, by sheer ML dominance).
They also get a cool remote work solution to use with their own employees alongside all of their existing infra that lets them allow remote employees to interact with Google securely, or at least auditably (BeyondCorp, CitC, whatever the internal code review tool and browser-based text editor were called, etc). This makes remote work for them possible and extremely cost saving, as the solution they'd otherwise need to engineering is already being developed as an external product.
I know nothing about law, but I'm also willing to bet making them integrated would also help them defend against the antitrust investigation too. If they roll up all of these seemingly separate products into one offering, by the time the investigation comes to any conclusions they might be so integrated they could argue they can't be split. Then if the government decides to do it anyways they'll probably split along the Google Search and Google Cloud lines, leaving at least two separate but extremely profitable business units. Each of those business units is even competing with at least two other established companies too!
The icon rebranding is probably part of making the integration visual . They know we'll all forget about it eventually just like they did last time when they altered the Google logo to use a sans-serif font and everyone lost their minds. Javier's strategy builds value for the company not only directly by entering the productivity tool market, but he also saves the company money by giving Google a free option for sustaining a fully remote workforce that they can now pay less and not need to maintain offices for. He also uses his inside knowledge of Microsoft to compete with his largest direct competitor, and simply dwarfs slack in both financial resources and brand capital. Finally, he might even help Google in the antitrust suit.
It's also possible I'm an idiot and thinking too much into yet another useless VP's attempts to distinguish himself in a marginal way. I personally think they have a winner here though; they're hugely committed to a browser-based environment and even stand to control web browsers and http altogether with Chromium's dominance and the amount of work they're dumping into the stuff it talks to. It's a fairly positive and mature future, and speaks to the kind of leadership you get from people who focus on building value rather than building technology.
These icons are neither.
haha yeah they don't have to, but there's just some good examples of "inspired" icons out there and it's kind of sad Google didn't take the chance to do something similar. The Microsoft office icons, for example, I'd call clear/differentiable and inspired. You get the cool detail that the shape for each is associated with the document type they edit (tables, text, graphics, email/calendar) subtle gradients, depth through great use of shadows, and even on apps that are technically the same color (blue is used for 3 apps) subtle yet noticeable changes in hue .
There's also macOS icons, especially the older ones. There's many examples icons with wonderful uses of texture, depth and detail, many of which altogether break away from the trend of "one color per app" but still manage to stay unique and, well, iconic .
It would've been great to see something with a little more effort and "inspiration" from google, although yeah, at least something clear and distinguishable would've been good.
They do not need to inspire me. I do not need my UI to be fashionable. I do not _want_ my UI to eschew function in favour of style.
If they wanted more google branding, more recognisability that these are all apps from Google without undermining the recognisability of what the app itself does, maybe they should have left the logos as they were, but added some consistent Google colours as a border or background. Then you can recognise them as mail, but from Google, calendar, but from Google, documents, but from Google. Now they're all just "some Google thing".
There's a lot of backlash EVERY time there are branding revamps,
however in this situation I've been pretty receptive of the changes.
The 'google' colour branding across their app icons is useful as users will instantly associate those colours with being Google's
With my previous Android device I very clearly remember not being able to identify which Calendar app was Google's vs Samsung's. Additionally, I had no idea the old hangouts app icon was Google hangouts, as I never used it. But evidently the icon itself wasn't enough to get my attention as being Google's
The only icon I don't like is the Google docs one as the icon itself doesn't really convey what it is. Atl east know it's obviously from the Google suite though.
That seems a lot more useful to Google than it is to users.
As a user, I don't see any problem with that either
Because of the redesign, i decided to try out Apple Maps before attempting to re-install Google Maps.
Have yet to re-install google maps since, with Apple Maps actually much improved.
....and yet I kept closing and swiping to other screens, swiping back before I realized “oh wait it’s right there”
PRE-EDIT: yes, I can see colors. they just clash when certain shades are exactly next to each other
It always astonishes me how lack-luster google’s design language is.