Whatever blogspot theme Google uses for this blog is just god awful (oh, I see, this is it: http://gmailblog.blogspot.co.uk/p/as-you-may-have-noticed-gm...), and I swear it gets worse every time I view a post there.
When I load the page I see the orange "loading" gears. Then that sliiiiides up to reveal the content. Really? Can they really not innovate here? This is a company that spends massive amounts of resources to get their homepage to load as quickly as possible. Heck, they even penalize companies in their index with slow loading times. And yet they purposefully add loading animations and transitions which add at least a second to page load, and probably more as far as time it takes me to engage in the content.
Also, every time I reload the page I see something different. Sometimes there is text in the black menu bar. Sometimes there is not. Sometimes there is an "extra" screen that slides up after the orange loading gears, sometimes not. Sometimes the sidebar navigation is there, sometimes not. Try refresh a few times yourself and you'll see.
Also, I love the five-second delay for the document URL update when you navigate via the sidebar.
All of these fancy, look-we're-using-ajax, gee-whiz-its-a-single-page-app features -- just for a simple blog post. Talk about complicating a simple problem!
Again, apologies for the rant but I couldn't even concentrate on what the blog post was saying because I was so distracted by this garbage.
It's not just that I don't want to scroll past this comment. These meta-comments may seem harmless, but when this is the top comment, it stifles the entire discussion about the article. Instead of people discussing the merits of the new GMail UI, there is an endless chain of replies burying all the topical comments.
I've said it before - I'd like to see a community guideline advising people not to make comments like this. These comments end up being easy ways to score points, entertaining for the people involved in the criticism, but harmful for the topical discussion. If it's a "Show HN" post about a hacker's new project, it seems topical to criticize the technology, but when it's a blog post, it seems so lame to criticize the blog software.
This kind of complaint belongs in its own thread - it should be a blogpost or something. The comment doesn't even apply to me - the page works perfectly and crisply for me.
And for others this is one of the main values of HN. Usually the discussions here are much better / insightful than original articles, and quite often those interesting discussions are tangential to the article itself. Let the community decide what to discuss about, in terms of topic (and the community do decide, by the means of an upvote).
I wholeheartedly disagree. The singing and dancing crap that people surround their text and images with is content. It's just crap content. Think about it the other way: if it's not content, why is it even there? Why does a blog need a loading screen?
EDIT: I just realized: the Readability bookmarklet manages to hide all the cruft, and make the post readable. Amazing.
Shit Case 1: sometimes you do a search, find a new phrase and begin typing it only to see the phrase disappear from the original search results and replaced with updated results for an incomplete and often incoherent query.
Shit Case 2: often I begin typing a new search query and realize mid "sentence" that the current query was fine. Well, too late. Because the results have already refreshed. Hitting the back key does little good. In best case, it doesn't work. In worst case, it will take you to the previous physical page that you were on before you came to google.
I find some of these changes mind boggling and can only convince myself to accept them by tell myself "hey google looks at the numbers, may be most folks just like it". Particularly the ajax search...annoys the crap out of me and finds way to enable itself even when I disable it.
Google needs to be usable by everyone. They iterate the product to make sure that most people get good search results. But this means that some people are getting sub-optimal results, especially as Google makes changes to the way search works.
Google didn't used to use stemming. Some words are now stemmed automatically. Google didn't used to substitute words. Some words are now substituted automatically. Google used to use + to force inclusion of a word, but they've dropped that and now use quotes to "force" "inclusion" of words "or phrases".
People reading HN might think that + is easy enough to use, and "enclosing" "every" "word" in "quotes" is stupid, but Google does have the numbers. (http://insidesearch.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/search-using-your...)
> In the past, we provided users with the “+” operator to help you search for specific terms. However, we found that users typed the “+” operator in less than half a percent of all searches, and two thirds of the time, it was used incorrectly.
Check my math, but I think that means that + was used correctly in only 1 out of 600 searches.
+ was changed because of Google+ branding, IMO.
Why does Google need to work the same way for everyone?
For example, let's say I found some new framework for a new language I haven't worked with. I can easily find competing frameworks by typing in something like '[framework name] vs' and Google will will suggest the most commonly compared frameworks. I think it's very useful when you don't know exactly what you are searching for. Yes, I know it has some usability issues but in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons.
What I hate is when I type, say a few letters of my query, and begin seeing frivolous search results begin to appear. I hate when I hit the back key, often it takes me to the previous page or simply removes the last letter from my query and updates the results. I hate when I begin typing an obscure name I just found from another query and see it disappear after I have typed a couple of letters.
I was just fine hitting the "return" key to pull up search results.
I used to have it for quite some time, new laptop set it back to normal, and for now it hasn't quite annoyed me enough yet to set it again (also because I'm using DuckDuckGo much more these days, for similar reasons), but it was good when I had it.
I really wish Google had some setting to turn off this "instant search update" thing, as well as how the input box continuously steals the focus (this breaks many keyboard shortcuts in Opera), because the other interactive/dynamic features they do with JS on the web search page are quite useful.
Parent mentions scrolling with the space key. Another: selecting text (prior to copying it). Another: making text bigger, e.g., with the Zoom In ("+") button. Another: going to the start or end of the page. Another: scrolling without annoying or time-wasting latency.
Then don't do it.
Google chose to ignore that, and they're rightfully catching flak for it. This isn't some fancy homepage, it's an informational blog. Text on a white background is the reason 100% of visitors visit. Hamming it up at the expense of non-mainstream browser users is pointless.
Actually that's incorrect. The majority of browsers don't utilize a rapid release system. Really, only Firefox and Chrome do.
The worst part is the font. Almost unreadable using Chrome/Win7 (Their own browser!).
Minutes? I do sometimes wonder where the day goes...
Alternatively, Shift-click on compose (or press capital C to with keyboard shortcuts on), and you'll get an actual window that you can move and resize. With the chat mini-windows I frequently wish that I could adjust them, and often accidentally collapse them by clicking in what looks like a title bar.
Or if you already have a message open, just shift-click on Inbox to open a new window. Or not --- Google in their wisdom has disabled that to prevent confusing some poor soul with a broken shift key, praise be their servers. But C-n for a new window, ma-return, /search, C-w isn't that bad.
I like the idea of minimizing the address area, but don't understand the advantages of the new approach. Is it primarily for tablet compatibility? Or is the concept of windows still considered unteachable? And why are they decreasing support for traditional click modifiers?
And it still is, as many satisfied users will tell you.
Don't you like having tabs in your browser or windows in Vim? I remember the same argument being made when tabs were introduced in web browsers and yet, most people aren't complaining now.
But what Google is introducing seems to be similar to their Google Talk "windows" that are already available in Gmail. They come in two modes: Either I get a small Ajax-y popup on the bottom right of my browser window, which I cannot resize, move or see when Alt+Tabbing/Ctrl+Tabbing. I absolutely loathe this mode. The second mode is where they pop out an actual window. I like this mode, as I can interact with the chat window as with every other window on my desktop. My assessment above is based on this experience.
After watching my Mom use the computer, I understand why Google doesn't create a new window my default. She can't switch between windows in her normal workflow (she can't remember where they went or the keyboard shortcuts to switch between windows). It's not as if she's new to computers - she has been using a PC since the 80s when she used Autocad to draft. She just doesn't really understand how to use multiple windows in a workflow and doesn't want to remember keyboard shortcuts.
I think is an important rule in design - are you building something you can use, or something that your mom can? More people are in the latter camp, and if you can design something simple enough for your mom, it probably is useable by people like you.
I'd do this all the time if it gave you a new tab rather than a new window. Who uses new browser windows these days?
I rarely see the appeal of tabs, so generally use windows. They are great as temporary bookmarks, but not for working with multiple sources in parallel. I'm confused that this is not more common, other than that more and more sites break it. Similar to the "new" Google compose window, and unlike tabs, the main advantage is that you can see both source and compose at once without needed to switch back and forth.
I'll turn the question back at you: why don't people use new windows? Is it just backlash from terribly designed sites that automatically pop up new windows for everything?
Until you click back on the Reference window and your Compose window suddenly disappears into the z-order void of your windows manager. I find it much easier to flip between two tabs than two windows, especially with Chrome's excellent tab strip UX. I'm not interested in having to constantly move/resize windows to see both pages at once.
(A decent focus-follows-mouse (no autoraise) solution for OS X would be nice as well!)
You can also click on the Compose button normally, then click on the "In new window" icon, in the upper right hand corner.
Most web browsers then offer the ability to drag that new window back into your main browser window which turns it into a tab.
Kind of a hassle, but it does work, and someone might find this information useful...
I sometimes wish that I had this for emails & GChat from within vanilla Chrome.
One tab: an email with a homework assignment.
One tab: my inbox.
One tab: composing a reply to a recruiter.
Two tabs: Other emails from the recruiter I'm using to compose my reply to the recruiter.
The first three I'm fine with being separate tabs in Chrome. That's fully intentional. However, the last three tabs are all one task, and in my mind should be achievable in one window/tab.
Different tabs, different windows, it's all the same thing. I want Gmail open exactly once for a single goal. My other post describes my use-cases more completely.
My big complaint about email, especially gmail, is that it seems to insist on keeping too many elements from desktop to mobile. My mobile email needs are much more like my SMS needs, yet the UX for mobile Gmail (for example) largely resembles the desktop client.
I know that's tangential, but it's what's on my mind regarding Gmail right now.
I use the iOS gmail app, but what I really want is this:
An app that present emails to me like iOS messages, but with some design changes to fit long content.
This would allow for better context (messages are individualized and chronological) and faster, one touch responding while I'm on the go. Responding to emails on a phone is much slow and significantly more challenging than responding to a text, and I see no reason for that.
Also, the current Android GMail app sounds more or less like what you're asking for, with the messages neing collapsable.
Plus, the iPhone 4 is the best free phone you can get by far.
There, I said it.
I mostly like it, except the contact info side bar can cut into my email pane when I dont have my browser fullscreened.
In an age where people have multiple email addresses, do we really want the email addresses to be hidden? Come on.
I often need to write emails with specific details from other threads. this is way way faster than save draft, search, copy, go back to draft, and paste.
Maybe there's a better workflow for this problem - but the draft saving way sucks.
In addition, GMail haas been feeling more bloated for me lately with such an Ajax-heavy UI, and I feel like this could cause further slow-downs.
However, I will keep an open mind - this is not a drastic redesign to the overall system.
Midway while typing this post, I did a search and boom: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3581613
I used it to move mail to gmail quite a while ago since I was tired of having mail, calendar and contacts in different places.
I use Thunderbird + IMAP to sync a local copy of my Gmail email every week or two.
It does not sync anything except your email, but even that much is pretty nice, for peace of mind.
Also, is the formatting (rtf) preserved?
One hacky-but-straightforward way to do this would be to take advantage of an email<->filesystem translation like NMH or MBox, and then write some script that would automatically purge the attachments before archiving.
You'd still have to download the attachments, I believe; I could be wrong, but I don't think IMAP will let you get around that easily.
(To be fair, Gmail's implementation doesn't adhere to IMAP very well in my experience - labels/folders/tags are a major problem - so YMMV).
Open mutt (preferably under screen so you can 'C-a "' between mail folders), view message(s) you want to reference (optionally: tag relevant messages, using mutt's filtering tools as necessary, than 'l ~T' to restrict to just the tagged messages, allowing you to rapidly reference a set of messages.
Fire up a new terminal window (I bind this to '<shift><alt>t' in my window manager) and write "mutt -s 'subject line'" to start your message, drop into the address lookup window to designate recipients, and edit away in your editor of choice.
And all of this without the multi-gigabyte overhead of a full browser session + gmail.
Oh yeah: offlineimap means you can work on your GMail account (and/or any other accounts you've configured for mutt) readily.
How often has your grandmother's mail agent changed over the time she's been using it?
One of the reason us old farts have a fondness for commandline and console tools is that they have a strong tendency to remain remarkably consistent over time. I started using mutt in the late 1990s. for the past 13 years, my preferred (though far from only) email environment has changed very, very little.
Other than mutt, I've used at various points in time: BSD mail, BSD mailx, cc:mail, various versions of Microsoft Mail / Outlook, Eudora, Netscape, Lotus Notes (ugh!), the VMS mail client, elm, pine, Mail.app, Evolution, Sylpheed, KMail, the Palm Centro mail app, the Android mail app, K9Mail, Gmail, AOL Mail, Microsoft OWS, Zimbra, and others.
It's not that I haven't tried the alternatives. It's that when it comes down to it, mutt fits my needs, workflow, and practices better than the others.
The most annoying thing to me about gmail's interface is center-clicking on something (to reference it, like something in a mailing list) and having the entire window redirected.
This is cool :)
I do agree that broken middle-click is hugely annoying. I'd much prefer they fixed that though, rather than introducing a non-standard popup as the default left-click behaviour.
I don't really understand why they hijacked middle-click in the first place. Does anyone actually use middle-click + drag to scroll? I would've assumed the majority have scroll wheels? Is this some accessibility thing that I'm missing?
Really looking forward to this hitting my account.
My real pet peeve: can we start removing "Compose" from email vocabulary?
I use Gmail basically ever since it was on early early stages (I even pay for more storage for years now) and the degradation of performance is the one thing that makes me think of leaving the service for something snappier.
My personal gmail has less than 3gb, and I dont notice any performance issues.
I've tried every recommendation, and of course hear nothing back from their support or in their forums. Gmail is almost unusable for me now.
Any recommendations or contacts would be appreciated. It seems the only way to get help from Google is to know someone.
and remove any that are old/you aren't using. You'll see a speed up.
(The main ones for me are the compose window never actually loading, or new messages in a thread not displaying (both requiring a refresh). Meanwhile, the chat hover has changed layout twice. Seriously?)
I always want to reply to the most recent message, but usually someone else responds while I am composing. So I have to view their message and reply to that instead of to the original message. Does this happen to anyone else, or am I taking crazy pills?
It feels to me though that google is still playing serious catch-up to it's main competitors (yahoo & microsoft) in the email arena who both have great web-mail solutions that don't get the accolades they deserve.
Now all I need is full folder support and I'm happy!
That said, HM does seem to have some nice features such as a decent spam filter (finally; it used to be laughable) and easy unsubscribe. But bury it under a poor UI and I just dread using it.
Or maybe when you say "great web-mail" it's blindingly obvious to everyone but me that you're referring to something else, in which case ignore me. :)
Peter Norvig gave singularity summit talk on exciting work they're doing http://fora.tv/2012/10/14/Peter_Norvig_Channeling_the_Flood_... , why isn't that top spot?
HN is kowtowing to the pseudo-brogrammer crowd.
- "curing cancer" has been announced many times, and until now every proposed therapy has had at best limited success
- likewise, "creating ai" has been in the news time to time. We seem to be always on the verge of true ai and the singularity, but it has not happened yet.
OTOH, many people here use gmail - I do, and I have been bothered by this compose thing.
To see the issue actually addressed, with proof, and hopefully with an implementation that I can use in the next few days, is more valuable to me that a potential cancer cure or potential ai - especially since I don't have cancer.
These are worthy goals, but until there is some real advance, why bother?
It's a market economy - someone solving a problem I have is more valuable to me that someone advancing in the resolution of a problem I don't have.
The AI advance is seen as an advance by Peter Norvig (head of Google Research) himself.
Both of them are hacker relevant potentially profitable business with huge upsides. Real advances can be made, especially by the hacker crowd. There's too much of a web 2.0 filter bubble going on here.
If you're more into cooking, it is something we already do with various particles - and with multiple beams to minimize damage to surrouding tissues (google for gamma knife)
It's a good thing Peter Norvig sees an advance. It'd be much better when that feeling is shared by the scientific community.
Real advances can be made, and there is indeed a web 2.0 filter here - much effort being spent on barely interesting things. The human race can do so much better.
But curing cancer, ai, whole brain emulation etc. are topics which will require a long sustained effort - if only because we are constrained by our technology!
It's not a matter of capital - these problems just can't be correctly addressed with our current technology.
It's a good thing if we are making steps in the right directions, but it's very unlikely these problems will be solved very soon, therefore my interest in news about such problems is quite low, even with a deep interest in them!
So I guess it's just natural that other readers find such things even less newsworthy :-(
Anyway, I'm not offended by gmail news, just wanted to get some ultrasound and some ai in there and put things in context.
It's a pain when your carefully curated submissions don't even hit the front page, but you just have to suck it up and move on.
All of the pain points that this supposedly solves have already been solved with tabs. Middle click compose and all of those problems are solved with the added bonus of having an entire screen to write your email in.
Google is being taken over by pointy haired managers and marketing. RIP.
I used to be able to get very accurate results in Google search with judicious use of quotes, excluded terms, and exact phrases. Now, Google second-guesses what I really meant, and usually gives me a result that's more generic, more mainstream, but not actually what I was looking for.
The contemporary services are better for people who don't understand sets, and who don't really know how to use the more esoteric features of their browser. That's not necessarily bad, but it's bad for us. But we'll cope: there's no shortage of alternative email clients.
If you're unhappy that Google is trying to autocorrect spelling or add/remove search terms, you might try the verbatim search tool: http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2011/11/search-using-your-t...
A suggestion - provide a subdomain with the old search, e.g. old.google.com. All of the mainstream customers get whatever UX/marketing think is best for them and everyone else gets to keep using a tool which they find useful - everyone wins!
Oh, and since you might be the right person to ask, why is Quora still turning up in search results when they censor most of the thread? They're even worse than Experts Exchange (and why are they still turning up in results too?).
Secondly, are we stupid for using these annoying shift, control shortcuts? Google is not reinventing the wheel. Google is not used by elite computer programmers. I don't even use emacs because I am a VIM user. GMail is used by over a billion user and most of them don't even know some shortcuts or nice ways to make their tasks better.
I don't know all the secrets you guys are pointing out, and are you going to call me stupid? This is not reinventing wheel. It's just making the app more usable.
If anyone start spamming me with "you can already do this with X, Y , Z ways but it's not known by everyone...".