The problem with image buttons like the ones shown are that they visually break when zoomed in (tested in Chrome). When I zoom in, the right side of the buttons does no longer fit perfectly with the rest of the button: it get moved by some 2 pixels up, while the rest of the button remains in place.
I've experienced this problem on many websites, that's why I try to avoid composite image buttons whenever possible. Either I create a button of only one image(which often can't be reused) or I create if with CSS3 (some compatibility issues).
The problem with image buttons like the ones shown are that they visually break when zoomed in
Breaking features that paying users overwhelmingly do not use is not a showstopper for most businesses. I don't actively hate power-users, but if you're savvy enough to do anything other than open up the browser in the default settings and make with the clicky-clicky, you're savvy enough to undo it when you run into problems.
I feel a lot worse over the related answer for disabled users, since they typically don't have an option to turn off being disabled, but the economics are the same: 100% higher development costs to improve the experience of under 1% of users is not feasible.
What I think isn't that 'the site breaks with JS off' is inherently terrible. Some sites actually do require JS - but that's far fewer than the number that think that they require JS, and completely breaking with JS off is a very distinct code smell. It says 'this person does not sweat the details.'
> The problem with image buttons like the ones shown are that they visually break when zoomed in (tested in Chrome). When I zoom in, the right side of the buttons does no longer fit perfectly with the rest of the button: it get moved by some 2 pixels up, while the rest of the button remains in place.
Using Camino (FF3 or FF3.5 engine, something like that) there isn't even a need to zoom in: the alignment is broken by default, and when zooming in the button sometimes "tears" out
Zooming as it is is a broken mechanic. Google Docs already attempts to detect if you are zooming in and tells you to zoom to 100% or things will be broken. I wish there was a reliable way to detect if the user is at a weird zoom level.
It seems to me that they are trying to update the interfaces to look more similar with Google+ and make them pixel perfect across all their applications.
That's why I think it is good to see all the apps change in a short time span, which makes it easier to get over the changes.
There seems to be some change regarding how they push updates and new features/designs to the world. I remember it took months of testing before they decided that the current search bar at google.com (wider and larger) was good enough. Now they really are pushing total UI revamps in 2 days.
The search bar is ridiculously large, especially given how rarely I suspect most folks actually run searches against their calendar. I'm sure some people are doing it constantly but if I've even done it once I'd be surprised.
There's an awful lot of unused horizontal space in that black bar. Seems like a good location for a search box.