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Google's new logos are bad (techcrunch.com)
776 points by LopRabbit 35 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 333 comments



One time I learned from Google's documentation that it was best not to spawn content after loading which affects page layout.

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.


First time I see this mentioned somewhere. YES - this exact same thing has driven me crazy.

> 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.


And this is why it means so much that Google once encouraged this behavior! Because each single offender multiplies the effect and it carries through your browsing habits elsewhere.

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.


The same thing seems to happen with a lot of cookie consents that appear at the top of the page after the page loads moving the content lower. Infuriating.

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.


The piece of shifting layout that annoys me the most in Google search results is the “People also search for” widget. It appears if you visit a search result and then hit the Back button. I usually want to click the search result below the one I just visited, but by the time I’ve moved the mouse to that search result, the Google search page has inserted the “People also search for” widget in its place.

Google Search’s addition of that dynamically-appearing widget two years ago was the primary reason I switched to DuckDuckGo.


Some guy at Google is patting himself on the back for a Job Well Done because the customer engagement metrics are much higher than anticipated.


Selling clicks is literally their business.


They sell deliberate clicks, but measure all clicks, including accidental.


I've added a filter to ublock which blocks it from happening, it's amazing. I use `www.google.*##div[jscontroller]:if(h4:has-text(People also search for))`


Maybe we should start a petition? Because I am about to do the same.

The least they can do is push it to a second column on desktop and to the bottom on mobile.


I’ve literally never seen this. Just tried to make it happen on my iPad with a few random searches and couldn’t. Maybe my adblocker (AdGuard set to block “annoyances”) has saved me this pain without even realizing it.


Happens to me with an adblocker. Are you disabling JS?


Never mind, I am getting the “people also searched for” box for some queries. But it appears to load immediately, I don’t see anything load then move later.


See also this comment thread about the same issue: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24914766


Huh I never notice that one but then I always use middle click to open results in a new tab if there is a chance that I want to look at more than one.


I absolutely hate this practice. I get bit by it daily and it's so frustrating.

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.


Google is also penalizing, or starting to penalize, sites that do this. EDIT: Actually I'm not sure if it affects anything yet, but it is a metric for the search console at least.

See https://web.dev/cls/

They have a whole site dedicated to this. I tried asking the authors why Google does it themselves, but no answer that time.


The “but CLS” argument doesn’t hold against: “User searches for something, and results have to be there in <1s. We then decide if we show the shopping widget, which takes 2-5s to generate. When placed correctly, said widget generates X amount of money, while these charts show that CLS decreases our income by only 0.1 X.”

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.

It’s disgusting.


It's probably a "do what I tell, not what I do". But it hurts their credibility nonetheless.


This happens to me daily with Google! It's so incredibly annoying. I waste so much time because >70% of the time something moves and I click the wrong link.

Can we do something to disable that feature? I'll try disabling JavaScript, or maybe there's a browser extension that does that.

EDIT: Disabling JavaScript stops it but the search is also much slower for me, and there's an additional redirect. The layout is also quite different than what I am used to. Someone posted a uBlock filter here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24915985


Maybe we should just give up Google search. I'm thinking about it. The anxiety is real. The only problem is everything else completely sucks for technically-oriented searches.


I have good luck with DuckDuckGo for technical searches. It's local searches and searches about relatively current events it seems to have trouble with.


Try Startpage, it internally uses Google. http://startpage.com/


I wish Startpage worked without JS and I also find the background + text color combo to hurt readability.

Otherwise, it's a great alternative and thanks for the shout out!


>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.

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.


I’ve completely switched to DuckDuckGo for search. I used to fall back to Google fairly frequently if the DDG results weren’t good enough, but that has gotten less and less frequent. The experience is very similar to Google in the old days


I respect Gabriel Weinberg a lot. I have his book, Super Thinking. My default search engine is DuckDuckGo.

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.


YouTube does this very thing. If you aren’t signed in (which I am not and never will), the whole page loads for enough time that you can press play only for the Sign In To YouTube Music account pop up to appear, which pauses and resets the video. When you click no thanks you have to press play again. Most websites get that you don’t want to create an account after clicking no but YouTube has gone full late 90’s dark patterns.


Google really has turned into one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" types.

Why do we listen to them about web standards again?

I mean we all agree Material looks like shit, right?


thank kind people of the internet for this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/63680896/how-to-block-th...


I’m sure after this change was made some manager said “great job, people are clicking so many ads now!”


Exactly I felt why Google is using this annoying / cheap tactics.


I'm sure A/B testing showed a nice increase in ad clicks as a result of this change and someone got a sweet bonus.


> 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.

I dislike the redesign as well, but this paragraph is very much a "Hacker News Moment" :)


I am the 1%


Uber does this as well.

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


Want to start a blog and document these instances? Maybe we can shame a few people into fixing these issues.


The only shame Google could possibly feel is missing their earnings projections.


Reminds me of the old adage, "Do not anthropomorphize Larry Ellison."


It's an epidemic of this in interfaces.

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".


Gchat is terrible at this. It fires off an XHR request and then several seconds later it will change and scroll differently. The end result is that if I click faster than a few seconds and it hasn't loaded yet, what receives my click event will be the new thing that is now suddenly in the place where the old thing was. Then that new thing triggers XHR which takes a few seconds ... I long for simple and responsive, like I had more than 20 years ago with IRC.


> Google started doing that very thing in their search results.

Sounds like A&B testing measuring which gives you more ad revenue and zero biological brain cell activity involved.


I was just cursing at my phone the other day for this happening!

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 behavior stops if you turn off JS


> One time I learned from Google's documentation that it was best not to spawn content after loading which affects page layout.

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 have the same issue. But it's part of a general trend for me; I struggle to use "mobile" or "responsive" websites entirely more and more these days. As a result, the amount of times I request "desktop" view on a mobile device has been steadily growing and for more sites. They're trying to be "too fancy", for lack of a better way of expressing such a thing, and it's having knock-on usability effects.


I find myself gritting my teeth sometimes at the design decisions I'm left to implement.


they're loading from localhost and don't perceive any delay


No, we hate it too, trust me.


> Sometime in the last few years, Google started doing that very thing in their search results.

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.


Extreme long-term A/B testing :-)


This happens to me every day. Somehow there always seems to be stuff at the top of the page moving my search results around long after the page should have finished loading. Drives me up the wall!


Happens to me all the time at the top of their search results page. Drives me nuts as it pops in right as I'm trying to click the top link, invariably leading me to the wrong place.


I wonder how often that behaviour causes someone trying to click on the first result to accidentally click on an ad instead


I'm sure they have this data and have shown figures in meetings already.


Same thing happens when you change the payment details on Amazon’s one click payment process. I have a household joint account card and a personal card that I use both a lot, tapping the right card or not the back button is extremely difficult because they dance for a bit before settling.

* I use the iPhone app


FYI, you can fix this issue on desktop using: https://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/115038/how-to-st...


I often right click where I want to click then left click out of the right click menu. It solves my subconscious desire to click, and lets my mind accept waiting. Plus, no negative effects, like going to the wrong link :). Perhaps it might help!


Google is one of those "do as I say, not as I do" companies. or worse yet its "stop doing that! you are doing it wrong!" then when you stop they normalize the same thing.


If we’re talking about the same extra added content (while I’ve not tested extensively) it seemed to be browser-specific: it happened in Firefox but not in Safari, for me.


Almost as if it's made to drive clicks to AdSense paying customers


So now it's not just apps and services, they're killing off brand recognition. I don't understand it.

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.


I’m short on google long term - they’re feeling more and more like yahoo to me. Lots of random projects, often killed, little direction - no overall vision.

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.


> Lots of random projects, often killed, little direction

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.


> It's the same in Academia though.

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.


Did Microsoft really fix it? Or it pulled of an IBM and just pivoted into enterprise offerings like Azure.

Can't remember when was the last time Microsoft pulled off a new successful consumer ready product or significantly improved an existing one.


VSCode is a pretty big deal.

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.


It's wild how much good association I have with Microsoft right now. I never think of masssive companies in positive ways usually. I had to catch myself when a friend brought them up and I wanted to talk about how much I like VSCode, WSL, and Typescript. I know there's probably a good chance it's the embrace, extend, extinguish but damn the embrace phase is nice


Office 365, OneDrive, Azure, Teams and all the other things they've been doing online with effectively single-sign on are having amazing synergy between them (in my opinion). I think people are massively under-appreciating what they're building towards. MS is taking over slowly in the background.


I agree. Office 365 family plan is a great deal. My personal workflow centers on Google Workspace, but if Google were to disappear tomorrow, it would only take a few hours to switch to Office 365 being my driver for personal information, writing materials, etc.


Somehow they don't see this problem, which is a severe blind spot. If they end up on the wrong end of their anti-trust issues when the dust settles, the only part that might be viable long term is search/ads.


> So now it's not just apps and services, they're killing off brand recognition. I don't understand it.

Well, that's fine, next manager now has chance to improve brand recognition and impress top management.


I will never integrate a new Google service into anything ever again.

I am only interested in disintegration.

Google has failed my trust.


> Google knows it's really just a "Lab" experiment.

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.


So now (to keep the OP's picture) they throw the spaghetti full swing every time. If it sticks to the wall, it's ok (for now), if it doesn't (or not well enough), it gets mopped up, no harm done to the business - except, as the OP wrote, for users who get wary to rely on stuff that may or may not be here next year.


They aren't even wrong. Branding is overrated.


Doesn't explain the death of Google Reader.


I'm not proposing a unified theory of Google's choices. Google reader is more easily explained by other factors, specifically that it didn't fit nicely into the G+ push by Google and was not otherwise monetized by ads in any significant way at that point. Somewhat tragically, had they built a content-oriented social network around Reader instead of an ill-conceived integration to G+, it would have been more readily monetized and improved Google's chances of success in Social.


Google Keep fans are already freaking out: https://i.redd.it/fyildc8gfov51.jpg


Wow, all those icons next to each other on a phone screen look really hard to tell apart at a glance.


Google has a history of this. I always confused the Play Store and Play Music apps. Cyan Triangle vs Orange Triangle.


I just gave this a test trying to find google drive as fast as possible. My eyes first stopped on google home since it’s the exact same colours and mostly the same shape.


The only thing that I would confuse Google Drive with is Google Chrome, because that one actually looks like a disk


Except for Keep! It's the only one that gives an idea what it does, virtual post-it notes.


I disagree, I bet people would assume it is something similar to Home because it has a lightbulb.


You won't have to worry about that in a couple months, since Google Play Music won't exist anymore.


Gmail favicon make the inbox counter useless.


It never had a publicly documented API, wish I could have baked it into VS Code and such. Obviously not a clear indicator of a Google offering with a limited time left, but cause enough for concern for me to prepare to find an alternative...


Exactly this. I used to export everything by opening the page source and filtering out the HTML elements. It was a really terrible offering, and it was originally what made me realize that Google is not the kind of company that delivers on that front.

I replaced it with a combination of Shaarli for links and Standard Notes for everything else.


Now do an export from Messages. I haven't been able to figure it out without disgusting scraping hacks. Maybe it's in Google Takeout? Nope.


Are they going to eliminate Google Keep?


On the other side, I've never herd of Google Keep.


It’s a note taking app that has existed for at least 5 years.


Which itself replaced Google Notebook which had existed for 5 years before Google killed it in favor of Keep: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Notebook


Isn't keep something that can be paid for by enterprise users? Have they killed off enterprise products like that before?


Yes it's part of Google Workspace (G Suite). It's sold to corporate customers, so it shouldn't disappear without solution.


They killed and replaced hangouts, a staple of their enterprise offerings, so yes.


As a keep user, this can only make me laugh.

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


a very useful app. looks like gonna be chopped off soon. :(


I just copied the handful of notes I had there into Apple's Notes app. Don't want to get burned by Google again.


Shit, will they get rid of Keep? I LOVE Keep and use it many times daily.


Now I have to migrate all my notes off to another service :(


May I recommend Joplin? I migrated from Keep to Joplin a little while ago. It's working pretty well for me.

- Open source - Encryption at rest when using a cloud service for syncing - Apps for all major platforms


No note sharing unfortunately. So much for our shared household shopping list.


I use Keep just for that purpose, everything else is in Joplin.


> Now I have to migrate all my notes off to another service :(

> 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.


Notion is excellent, and probably not going anywhere.


Notion and Google Keep seem at opposite ends of the note taking spectrum though. Notion is incredibly powerful, but that strength was its weakness when I evaluated for personal use.


I'll probably just stop having phone notes. Just write stuff down instead


I like writing stuff down too but you miss out on search.


Notion is pretty good.


Joplin. It's good. Use it.


Google has shockingly bad UI/UX for a company of their size.

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.


Once a company dominates a particular market, focusing on the user experience is bad for business.

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.


This is spot on. My personal reference example is Amazon.

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.


On the contrary, I think Amazon is so popular because its UX is amazing. Starting with the interface, it seems like everything I could want to do is 1 or 2 clicks away. Maybe I'm just familiar with everything, but considering the density of the navigation, I'm usually very pleased how easy it is to find functions I'm looking for, even if rarely used, like Order History, Wish Lists, etc.

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.


I just tested this myself. Something tells me pushing the other results down is entirely intentionally. It lands my mouse perfectly on the next link.


If software can read your mind, but doesn’t know that you will act as if it can’t read your mind, then it can’t actually read your mind.


Oh, I've never experienced it, because I'm one of those new-tab spammers. That's baffling, but I shield myself from this already. I think I open even more stuff in a new tab, because for years now, one can't count on a correct behavior of the back button. I would like a browser to just restore fully the state of the page as it was, without firing any events whatsoever.


> Oh, I've never experienced it, because I'm one of those new-tab spammers. That's baffling, but I shield myself from this already. I think I open even more stuff in a new tab, because for years now, one can't count on a correct behavior of the back button. I would like a browser to just restore fully the state of the page as it was, without firing any events whatsoever.

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.


The insane thing is that Google SET these standards in motion! What happened? Are we really so anti-consumer at this point that even the world's leading tech giants can employ spyware and malware, ad-funneling, and other techniques that not so long ago people were being prosecuted for?


Wow, finally somebody else who has experienced this. It frustrates me so much when I go back to the page, and then accidentally click one of those links, only for it to perform a new search, for then me to click back, and then rinse and repeat. Google has gone to shit.


How fast are you clicking a new link after you go back to the search results page? I can barely even manage to move my mouse before the "People also search for" box slides in. Or maybe it is slower for you?


It's an almost certainty that Google intentionally modifies the delay in order to confuse the user and prevent adaptation.


>First I should say that I understand Google’s intent here, to unify the visual language of the various apps in its suite.

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...


As long as we are excluding Amazon, the website, which is designed to make it as difficult as possible to do an in-depth search or meaningfully filter out items you don't want but they want to sell. It just feels like a spiderweb of dark patterns at this point.


Haha yeah it’s hilarious. Amazon is trying to make headway in the netherlands, but their website gives such an insanely untrustworthy vibe with all the trash results and unclear vendors that I’m gladly paying a premium to stay with the known webshops.


Yeah, it's wild how much better bol.com or coolblue looks when you compare it to amazon.nl. I'm glad our local companies are good enough to stand a chance against Amazon.


They could have just changed the color scheme up a bit though. These icons barely look like what they're meant to represent. They're just too simple and too colorful and at a glance look like each to the point that you have to stop and think about it. Terrible, terrible aesthetics and functionality.


Have you seen the AWS icons?


I have to believe that those are auto-generated somehow and they just pick one at random.


ah good point ... but at this point AWS has its own CEO so it's virtually its own company in many ways.


I'll just share the phrase I think on an almost daily basis, when I see whatever latest thing has been changed for no reason:

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.


I just got a complement from my manager and he says he likes all the utilities that I write for the company because I concentrate on the most used features and put them to the fore. I use the 80/20 rule a lot in the TUI utilities that I write and I think regular GUI people could do better by doing the same. I mostly work on backend load balancing stuff but we all take turns on some more mundane script writing. A lot my teammates just throw in tons of options with no ordering or priority to make using the tool a little bit better. All those "little bit betters" add up over time as the number of utilities grow.


Yeah, kinda reminds me of how Apple’s App Store icon morphed from three clear overlapping objects into just... matchsticks? Why must things become so flat and abstract that they look like nothing at all!?


In the web browser which is primarily where I look at the Google icons, it's not terrible.

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.


> 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.


I think the new Docs icon is very similar to the old one: A blue rectangle. Chat's icon is two overlapping green speech bubbles. All the new icons appear to be on this page: https://workspace.google.com/pricing.html


Those aren’t all the new icons. The new docs icon is a four-colored hollow pentagon in the same shape as the current icon.


I believe that's the icon that references all of Docs/Sheets/Slides/Keep/Sites/Forms, but not individual apps. I'm not sure where the four color rectangle is used, other than marketing material.

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).


The cynicism towards the folks who worked on this at Google is a bit over the top in this thread. While most of the criticism is justified, I'd like to point out something that might not be obvious to folks who never worked at a megacorp: not every person who worked on this (or any other thing you have a problem with in tech) is a mindless zombie that makes change for the sake of change, whose only goal in life is to get promoted.

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.


> This redesign likely took several human-years to get out.

Thats why we are so disappointed. Not changing the icons at all would have been so much better in every way.


Every time any major corp redesigns something it's the same old drivel on here. It's very predictable and imo flat out wrong. Design is subjective and everyone thinks their opinion is the right one when the reality is there is no right or wrong.


> when the reality is there is no right or wrong.

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?


Taste is subjective, but design can be objectively critiqued. Graphic design exists to change behaviour, and in this case the behaviour is to use apps based on recognition of a sign/symbol/icon.

In this case it seems reasonable to suggest that similar colour and shape is a poor design choice.


I don't have trouble differentiating them. They also share a brand look and feel which is clearly what they were going for. I would question how good they are for people with visual impairment however this is probably a secondary concern for the designers. All the conversations here relate to taste not UX as far as I can tell. We don't have the data Google has to make UX observations.


One thing I love about accounting for accessibility is that it applies to everyone. A rotating door can be used by a person without a hand, or a person with a coffee cup and a cellphone in each hand. With these changes, I will absolutely click the wrong app, I will click the wrong ones more when I am tired, or my screen brightness is low.

Hopefully an accessbility setting can help here.


For a long time now I see it in myself and other's around me (like my father, my in-laws, my wife), that icons do not work. Icons change too much and every app has its own set of icons, all of them highly abstract to the point of meaninglessness. Almost every Skype call with my in-laws has a non-trivial percentage dedicated to troubleshooting. They use it for years now and lately my father in-law started using YouTube almost every day, they still have problems with those pesky icons.

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.


Some aspects of design are subjective, some are more objective. Accessibility is an aspect thay can be objectively tested. You can test how easy a door handle makes it for abled humans, differently abled humans, velociraptors to open. However how pleasing that door handle is too look at is very subjective. I am having a hard time grasping these door handles. Its harder to differentiate and identify between the apps in the suite. It dose look more cohesive though, which engenders a sense of trust in the branding. Im not sure google really needs to forgo accessibility for cohesive branding like this. Just give me some identifying colors back.


I agree with you. There seems to be a lot of bad faith assuming going around on HN. It really degrades the quality of conversation we could be having. Look at the number of intelligent people on this platform! It’s incredible! Yet the cynicism is tiresome.


If you know the way, then please teach us.

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?


You know how we sometimes mock Reddit for thinking it's an exclusive club?

Welcome to the club


These icons are the worst. I think they're tacky colored and hideous, but in fairness, I'm not a graphic designer. So, I'll state the obvious...these icons no longer represent at a glance what the application is or does. The old ones conveyed function very well, except perhaps Drive.


Exactly my thoughts. Calendar app should be a calendar. It is really hard to notice the new icons from all the others.


My interpretation is that google is afraid of products being separated into separate companies as a result of antitrust litigation and so is trying to use their branding to support their case that these totally separate services are inseparable.


I can’t imagine how quickly they would be laughed out of a court with the argument of “you can’t split up our products, you see, the icons are all thematically the same!”


I don't think the parent meant this literal situation to work out.

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.


According to this guy's various interviews over the last few months he's trying to integrate a lot of G-Suite services together into a single offering, so it won't just be the icons that are the same. Who knows, by the time the antitrust case comes close to any sort of conclusion they might actually have a single product that can't be easily split anymore. He's even trying to add in "anticipatory experiences" (his words)[1] that make the product feel like it just gets the work you're trying to do. This obviously plays directly to Google's strengths as an engineering and ML powerhouse, and who knows maybe that'll be an argument they can make too.

1: https://www.protocol.com/javier-soltero-google-microsoft-int...


I cannot wait for this moment


One of the cool things about Google has always been that it is an ecosystem of disparate tools that work together.

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.


Cloud amoeba wins the phrase of the week.


Posed as a more general question: In what ways can a company that handles the information flow of lawmakers (personal info, browsing habits, software updates, etc) can influence their acting by psychological backdoors?


The alternative logos posted by a commenter on that article, Dan Parr, look much better! I don't know why they didn't go with something like those.

Take a look: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xX8pKlUiSkG10-zIGZeKda5A9qf....


The first row still looks best. Just tweak the Hangouts green and you're done.


The color coordination is better but it doesn't address the big problem, which is that the geometry is too big


Agreed. The adjusted icons are better only when compared to the terrible icons Google released. They are all pretty bad though.


> the geometry is too big

I agree, and find it even more difficult to understand this design direction in our age of ever increasing screen resolutions.


Unless I'm misunderstanding your comment, it seems the old and new icons are just about the same size.


The feature sizes of the icons, as in the paths and shapes that make them up are too big. they're harder to discriminate when you shrink the icon down.


I know it’s customary to complain about change, but ... this article is dead on. My company is full G-suite (sorry, “Google Workplace”), so I always have a bajillion mail/cal/drive/docs/meet tabs open. They used to be so easy to tell apart, now I have no idea WTF each tab is until I take a look. “Looks better” is subjective, but functionality is more objective, and these new logos are way less functional.


Quote of the day: "[...] if you wait long enough by the river, the bodies of your favorite Google products will float by. Better not to get attached."

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...


Try opening this Argonne page next to gmail. Later, you might think it was gdrive.

https://www.anl.gov/article/could-argonnes-mini-nuclear-reac...


I'm surprised a company as big as Google didn't spot that in trademark review. Or they did, but decided they'd just walk all over it.


Perhaps they thought they could just Recycle™ it.


People always hate on new logos (see Instagram, Airbnb, Starbucks, etc [1]) and love to make big sweeping statements about how dumb/useless other people are. In 6 months no one will remember or care.

[1] https://www.creativebloq.com/branding/controversial-4132378


I agree. Having come from the design world, pretty much most design critiques are bike sheds. Should the shed be red? no lets make it google colors instead. Make all sheds google colored because it will improve KPI's! (answer: it wont)

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.


They are easy enough to tell apart when you look at them full size on a desktop monitor. But when you have a couple google services open in different browser tabs, well now those very similar icons are pretty annoying to tell apart as 32x32 .ico


I really like the comment on the article that suggested making each icon focus on a single color. The icons look so much better, you can actually tell them apart without taking a few seconds to figure out which blob of color you are looking at.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xX8pKlUiSkG10-zIGZeKda5A9qf...


Agreed! IMO, Google Docs should remain blue though. Yellow is for slides, and has been for many, many years.


This is nearly as bad as grey/monochrome icons, which is the way Google chose to ruin the GMail interface years back. In both cases you're completely discarding one great way to let users quickly and easily distinguish between different icons: color.

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.


And Microsoft with recent additions to Office. The larger icons in the ribbon at least have splashes of colour, but the quick access toolbar is entirely monochrome.


They tried the monochrome look with the Visual Studio toolbar a few iterations back. It did not end well! The simultaneous introduction of uppercase menu bar text probably didn't help, either :)


Monochrome icons cause the interface to recede into the background, giving more focus to the content. It's the same logic behind hiding UI elements when not in use. This is a good choice in situations where the user is mainly viewing content rather than interacting with the application—for instance, PDF readers and video players. Google probably found that most users use Gmail mainly for reading, rather than processing, emails—and decided that it should more like a viewer and less like an application.


>> Google probably found that most users use Gmail mainly for reading, rather than processing, emails—and decided that it should more like a viewer and less like an application.

Do they really think that people do not write emails any more?


This guy is right that this redesign sabotages Gmail's bulletproof brand, but he doesn't mention the real motivation. This is Google we're talking about. They hired a new VP for these apps and since VPs are essentially useless people, he ordered up a redesign to show impact. He's even quoted in the article with some perfect nonsense that couldn't have been written anywhere but at a megacorp.


OMG the first thing I thought when I saw the title was "probable VP Urination Syndrome." And apparently it's true. He probably paid a prestigious design firm a million dollars for this shite.


Well, perhaps we are conflating two facts inaccurately..

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.


> The need for redesign is justified,

“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.


The justification is spelled out literally few words down the line - to unify the visual language.

If that is not clear, here is an example of Microsoft Office's excellent execution: https://medium.com/microsoft-design/redesigning-the-office-a...


I'm not sure about the 'excellent' part of the execution. The previous icons gave you more of an idea of what you were clicking on. The Word icon showed a W and a sheet of papers with lines on it. Now, it's just a W on a striped background. Excel is an X. You have know before hand the name of every MS tool to figure out what the icons stand for. Which is OK for workers experienced with the Office tool suite, but for others, W and X are no clearer than Y or T.

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.


To each their own but I found their new redesign to be excellent and as someone who uses a fair number of their products, I've never had any issues differentiating one from another based on their icons.

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.


Those are some of the most confusing icons I've ever seen. WTF is Y with a few arcs?

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.


Goofy part of English language. Just because they provide their justification does not make it “justified” (other than in their eyes of course).


Does he mention having a lifelong grudge against people with vision problems? Because that's the first thing I thought of when I saw them. That someone at Google viscerally hates the visually-impaired.


I'm not visually impaired, but I do find them difficult to distinguish at a glance.

They're awful.


I am visually impaired and they look great to me.


Doesn't surprise me, the less you see of these icons, the better they are


FWIW, I'm also visually impaired and mystified that this very critical article even exists and further befuddled that it resonates with enough people that it has made the front page of HN.

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.


Because every single user of a product that changes for no reason pays a price. That total cost is very high and never considered nor paid by the VP who will quickly move on.

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.


> I don't get where all the hatred is coming from beyond the knee jerk reaction that most humans hate to change.

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/


I can now only read how many unread emails I have on 1/3 of my tabs and am very upset about this permanent downgrade, so yeah, I upvoted it.

https://i.imgur.com/eI7Bczd.png


That's the most compelling and concrete reason I have seen so far. (Granted, I haven't read every single comment here.)


> 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.

This is the same speech I give after I spraypaint graffiti on people's houses.


The information that "most people just hate change on principle" -- in fact, they typically see change as loss -- was a lesson learned from my spiffy corporate training when I worked for a Fortune 500 company and before I could even begin my entry level job, I first underwent three months of training. Among other things, this three months of training involved completing a certificate program in a single month by attending class 7.5 hours a day at a local technical college instead of going to the job site.

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.


They all look too much alike and that's a terrible thing for an icon. They seem to be changing them just to be changing them.


because this just seems like change for the sake of change


I'm blind and these feel fantastic.


What does great mean to you? Are they still easy to distinguish? Or “great” as in you find them more visually appealing?


To be honest it just came to my mind as a funny joke and decided to shoot it. 8 upvotes is a good dose of validation.


On a colored titlebar, as you might find in a web browser for example, the new icons accomplish the feat of having at least one nearly invisible color no matter what color the titlebar is. And they don't have any fill to provide contrast, so the shape is lost. On my titlebars (darkish blue) the new gmail logo loses the blue and the green, so it looks like a dead worm.

The original gmail logo was awesome. Clean, recognizable, clever, easy to integrate. Everything about it was incredibly well designed. I'll miss it.


Does the new VP's name start with M? I am extremely confused by the new notification icons.


“This is the moment in which we break free from defining the structure and the role of our offerings in terms that were invented by somebody else in a very different era,” Google VP Javier Soltero told Fast Company.

Is what GP refers too


"invented by somebody else"

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.


I knew some game developers who put one or two glaringly bad visual choices in each milestone deliverable so the publisher could say "Change X!" and they feel like they'd made their mark.

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.



> I knew some game developers who put one or two glaringly bad visual choices in each milestone deliverable so the publisher could say "Change X!" and they feel like they'd made their mark.

> 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".


You’d be surprised how often this works - especially when there’s a wide discrepancy of expertise between the person doing the work and the person approving and/or paying for the work and the latter feel compelled to put their stamp on the work.


It is also very clearly a dig at his predecessor (Diane Greene?). Seems unprofessional.


Sounds like something generated by a primitive twitter bot.

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.


“Someone else invented the term word processor, so we’re reinventing Google Docs as a text actualizer.”

- Google, probably


And this guy earns more than all of us to say things like that.


Somebody else... who knew what they were doing by having functional icons that are differentiable. Next redesign they will make them oblique for another $1M.


I can’t write shit like that. I guess that’s why I don’t make the big bucks.


But you can train neural network which will write shit like that.


BRB, gonna design a bullshit bot. It can effectively cut middle management by 60% or more. #profit


why do companies continue to do this to themselves? Is it just the nature of large orgs?


People with expensive price tags need to come up with larger and larger projects to justify their own price tags, especially when you are dealing with things like logo redesigns, which are near impossible to tie to actual revenue of a business.


The culture starts at the top. It's the CEO who is accountable whether the org large or small.

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 don't think so, I actually think he might be pretty clever.

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.


[flagged]


Who said icons are supposed to be inspired? Icons are supposed to be clear and easy to differentiate from each other.

These icons are neither.


> Who said icons are supposed to be inspired?

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 [1].

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 [2].

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.

[1]: https://systechinfo.com/microsoft-rolls-out-updated-office-i...

[2]: https://img.utdstc.com/screen/3/official-macosx-leopard-icon...


No, seriously, why would anyone even care that they're "inspired"? Icons are not supposed to communicate aesthetic wonder or make you think about life, they're supposed to indicate something very, very clearly.


They should have swiped someone from Apple for their icon/gui updates. That's for sure.


I want visual guides to be clear, simple to identify, and indicative of function.

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.


I think the miscommunication here is that clear, identifiable and function-representative visual guides are hard to design, so some people (especially those who have attempted that challenge) are inspired by the ones that do all three (while being aesthetically acceptable, the right amount of eye-catching, matching the overall brand image, whatever other standards have you).


I liked the calendar and docs icons. They fit in with the Gmail icon somehow.


My first impression of these logos compared to the old ones, is that the old ones represented the application (they look like mail, a calendar, a document and a camera in a speech bubble; only Drive doesn't look like anything). The new logos represent the company: you primarily see the Google colours. They look less like what the application does.

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".


I am usually among the people who are excited about changes and updates in the products I use, but this is a rare exception. Some of these new logos are really hard to tell apart. It doesn't help that I have some red-green color blindness, but that's hardly a rare condition.


I actually feel stressed out looking at the icons together, like it's a test I know I'm going to fail.


I actually like the direction they've gone in..

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.


> The 'google' colour branding across their app icons is useful as users will instantly associate those colours with being Google's

That seems a lot more useful to Google than it is to users.


Sure, which in that case I guess makes it a good design & business decision.

As a user, I don't see any problem with that either


The recently updated Google Maps icon on iOS from earlier this year looks so out of place. It makes me want to delete the app.


My phone recently bricked itself, requiring me to factory reset my iOS.

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.


Had a similar experience, but ended up reinstalling to get offline maps.


It took me a weird amount of time to find Apps when I needed once because of the icon change. I knew exactly what folder it should have been in, even the row column placement of it.

....and yet I kept closing and swiping to other screens, swiping back before I realized “oh wait it’s right there”


If you don't mind larger feature sizes, give waze a try. It pulls from the same backend and algos.


In the desktop browser version of Gmail there is an advanced setting to show an "Unread message icon" in the bottom right of the Gmail favicon. Somehow with this rollout it's gotten a lot harder to see what the number is.


I use an iPad for taking video calls at work. Since they made the change a few weeks ago, it takes me 5 seconds every time I go to open Google Calendar for my meetings to find the icon on my dock. Half the time I end up clicking on the icon for Apollo since I'm so used to hitting a blue icon.


as a color blind person (red-green and blue-yellow) these are very loud and a bit ugly to look at.

PRE-EDIT: yes, I can see colors. they just clash when certain shades are exactly next to each other


As a non color blind person I agree on those two points.

It always astonishes me how lack-luster google’s design language is.


Google's design language is amazing, but their color recommendations are terrible. The problem is that they require lots of contrast to help people with visual impairments, at the expense of making content ugly and unreadable for everyone else. It's unclear why we can't just have a media query to increase contrast to AA or AAA for those who need it, while leaving apps nice looking for those who don't benefit from the extra contrast.


There will be a media query, prefers-contrast, but it's a question mark as to when browsers will implement it.


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