Thursday, 16 October 2008

iGoogle ruined

Anyone who uses iGoogle will probably have seen the new version today. If you haven't, do yourself a favour and never look, it will break your heart to see how badly Google screwed up one of the best "personalised homepages" on the web.

That nicely organised layout you had sorted and were perfectly happy with will be destroyed. They have introduced a left sidebar for the tabs, why I have no idea, and it is a disaster!

I don't even use the tabs, I just want a single page where it shows my Gmail, Facebook status, Calendar, Google Reader and BBC news headlines. Now I have it all squished over to the side and a big empty space on the left for the non-existent tabs. What was wrong with them at the top? They weren't in anyone's way up there!

They've updated some of the gadgets now, for example, the BBC News shows a summary as well as the headline. But I don't want the summary, it takes up too much space. Before there was an option to expand the headline if you wanted to see the summary. Not now though, and you can't change it either!

Google Reader is supposed to work from within iGoogle, but the scrolling doesn't seem to be very happy when doing that. It should be using an iFrame so the tabs and main header stay at the top, but it doesn't. Not nice!

Then there is the Gmail gadget, before if I clicked on my Inbox I'd be taken to Gmail. Not now though, instead I'm taken to the iGoogle version of Gmail, it's so bad!

They've also taken away the option to minimise a gadget. Well, you can still do it but you have to use the drop down menu instead of the convenient button on the gadgets bar.

GAH! I'm really quite disappointed in this, there is no way to go back to the old version so iGoogle is no good to me now. Damn it! I'm actually quite upset about the whole thing, which is most unlike me...

Why do people have to tinker and fix things that are never broken? It's going to be the Xbox 360 next and the new dashboard update, MS have managed to destroy that too, seems like everyone is at it!

This has suddenly made me realise one of the big problems with this kind of modern web development. In the "good ol' days" a program was updated and you could read reviews, then decide if the new features were worth getting. If they were you installed the update, if not you just kept the version you were using. Or, if you didn't like a new version, you could un-install it and go back to the old way.

I hate this "forced upgrade" path that is happening more and more, I want to have control of my PC, I don't want my computer usage dictated to me. But now, I have to either just put up with it, or stop using it altogether, but that's not so easy when you've become so accustomed to a certain way of doing things.