Google News Redesign is Horrible

So, what do you think of the Google News redesign?

You like it???  Tell me where you live so I can come hit you on the head a couple of times with a tack hammer…we’ll see if that jars anything loose.  All kidding aside (no I don’t want to hit anyone on the head with a tack hammer), there is plenty of negative feedback on the redesign.  If you’re not sure what changed, the original Google News Blog announcement is here (with screenshots) and you can also see it on your own computer (for now…they may roll it out to other countries besides the US soon so this may not work perpetually) here is how to check:

  1. Login to your google account.  Go to http://google.com/news
  2. Now visit this link in a new tab:  http://www.google.ca/news

The difference initially looks subtle but once you start scrolling it blares like a fog horn in your head.  I’m not the only one who thinks the redesign sucks.  The original announcement is filled with negative comments about the redesign.  Look on the right hand column of the announcement to see related posts and you’ll quickly see there are plenty of people who despise this ‘improvement’.  Even looking in the google news general forum results in the most popular threads being discussions about how bad the redesign actually is.

People have even begun to label this redesign as the “New Coke” of Google products.  I’m thinking they may be right.  Don’t remember the New Coke snafu?

How Can We Tell Google Their Redesign Sucks?

Most people have been going to the support area for Google news.  In my opinion, this is ABSOLUTELY the wrong area.  Instead, head over to the blog announcement page and you’ll see a link to the Help Center.  Once there, on the top right hand corner of the announcement is a link to comments. As of the writing of this article there were about 15 comments on this change.

It is my theory that Google is only paying attention to this comments section and not to the thousands upon thousands of posts taking place inside their support forums.  Afterall, is complaining that the redesign sucks really a support issue?  Make your voice known by visiting the Help Center and dropping a comment via the comments link there.  Clicking this link opens up a sidewiki comment system.  Make sure you are signed into your google account when leaving a comment.

So what are the problems with Google News?

Tailored News – Google said the new redesign is “tailored to your interests” aka “news for you”.  Here’s the thing…I don’t want news tailored to my interests.  I want unedited and unfiltered news.  The reason I liked Google News in the first place was because I didn’t have paid sponsors results jockying to the front of the page.  I could read liberal and conservative news side by side.  I could get one side of the story and the other side of the story.

Now, I get only the side that interests me.  This doesn’t make for a well informed, rounded individual.  In other words, I want to see EVERYTHING and decide what to read…I don’t want that taken away from me at the beginning.

Scrolling – Congratulations Google!  It now takes me 6 pages of scrolling to see the same amount of news I used to be able to read in 2.  Boy I would have loved to be a fly in the wall on the meeting where the ‘stream’ concept was discussed…a big, monsterous fly so that I could have fly puked right on whoever thought it was a good idea.

Google news is now a facebook stream of news.  I don’t want that.  If I wanted a facebook stream of news, I’d create a facebook account and friend all the news agencies out there and wait for the news to stream to me.

It now takes me three to four times longer to read news than it did in the past.  I’m also getting a poor sample of the news.  I’m missing tons of articles I got in the past and headlines don’t pop like they used to.  It’s also HARDER to read when you’re scrolling 5000 lines of text.  For this reason alone the redesign is 20lbs of crap poured into a 10lb bag.

Local News – Local news went from having its own section to having 3 headlines.  Thanks for reducing my local news Google…I really appreciate that.  Good to know that I don’t need to be reading what’s happening right outside my window.

Fast Flip Reduction – Remember when fast flip was 3-4 wide across the bottom of your google news page?  Now it’s 1 article on the small right hand column.  WORTHLESS.  And of course, there is no way to get rid of it from your google news page.

Spotlight – What the heck is this section for?  What do these articles have in them that allows them to have a spotlight shined on them?  Do publications pay Google to be included in this section?  Why can’t I remove this section if I want to?

Most Popular – These articles are the most popular according to whom?  Am I just supposed to trust Google that they are the most popular ones out there?  Do publications pay Google to be included on this section?  Why can’t I remove it?

A good article that includes many of the reasons I discussed above can be found here.

The Squeekiest Wheel?? Alternatives??

So, if we complain en masse, will Google listen?  Does the squeekiest wheel get the most oil?  I hope so.

Until then, I won’t be using Google News. A suitable and tolerable substitution can be found at Ask.com…for those of you saying “Try Bing!” I did and it sucks.  Ask.com’s News Page is simple and doesn’t require me to scroll 40 times just to read news.  Thanks for keeping it simple Ask!  You’ve got a new supporter!

What do you think of the new google news?  Please let me know with a comment below.  The redesign hasn’t been rolled out in all areas yet so you may not see it in your location…however, be warned that it is probably coming.  Hopefully, Google will realize this move is the New Coke Snafu and backtrack to their original design…not because the features they want to implement suck, but because when implementing them, they made reading the news MUCH harder than it should be.

Google Reader, You Suck

UPDATE:  Google Reader has changed their behavior as of late.  This post no longer applies as the behavior I wanted has been integrated.  Thanks for reading Google! :)

When I’m not using BlogBridge (that is, when I’m checking my feeds from someone elses computer) I check via Google Reader. It’s been quite nice for me to check out what’s happening in the world of Linux while away from my standard feed reading environment.

Recently though, they have changed the default behavior. Now when I want to mark an entire feed read (feeds with a large number of unread feeds), an annoying confirmation dialog box pops up and I have to confirm that I truly do want to mark all of my feeds as read (in true Microsoftian-esque style mind you).

Whoever enabled this needs to be sentenced to a life of annoying popup dialog boxes. Make their primary desktop be Vista and make them turn on the UAC and make them do their normal job. Sentence them to an entire year of stupid annoying popups. I despise popup dialogs…the demon brain children of the department of redundancy department… (a department google must now have created…and here I thought Microsoft was the only company that had one of these!) more than anything in computing.

Please google reader, take out that stupid dialog! Or at least give us a checkbox option. This type of behavior is frustrating, redundant, and lame.  I cry suckage google reader >:|

Convert Audio with Ease in KDE

I ripped a couple of CD’s for my son this evening. In the process, I decided to setup Kalarm and Korganizer on his computer so that he could set alarms to remind him to do various chores around the house. While doing all of this, I needed a .wav file so that he could use a song for his alarm. Of course, he wanted one of the songs I had just ripped from his CD. Since I had ripped his songs to .ogg format, I had to investigate which program could convert from .ogg to .wav this the easiest in KDE.

I’ve not used many of the whiz bang functions of KDE and desktop Linux…I’ve been more of a browser, mail, and RSS type of guy for many years. Now that I’ve been using Linux at work and at home, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to figure out how to do things that I’ve never done before. In this case, convert audio to .wav, .ogg, or .mp3 with ease. There is a tool called audiokonverter available in PCLinuxOS 2007 repositories that makes this a snap.

Read more

Updates on Kapps

A thousand apologies for not updating my Kwhat? category. I’ve had to shuffle things around quite a bit here at the house (computer-wise) and am now the proud owner of a Slackware 10.X server running on a PII 350Mhz with 512MB of PC100! I had a RAM slot in my server mobo go bad so I was down for a few days while I moved motherboards from case to case. Back up now, but had to reinstall my favorite desktop distro in order to get back into the KWhat? mood.

Not to mention I’ve worked 50+ hours in the past two weeks on big projects. So, now that I have time to breath this weekend…I’ll look to finally getting into the Kswing of things. I hope to cover something I find handy like Kid3, KCheckGmail, and KLinkStatus along side of something that comes installed by default like Klipper (something that most of us see but never use even though it is a powerful little tool). So look for something to pop up this weekend and once again, sorry to those of you who were waiting for me to get my rear end in gear and publish something.

UPDATE: I’ve had some last minute contact with developers and am trying to incorporate this into the article. Please look for this to publish Wednesday or Thursday. I’ve selected Klipper as the KWhat? application we’ll be looking at.