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Gmail is impolding - take 2

by numbawunfela / January 7, 2012 2:50 AM PST

I chat on online forums all the time, but the UI here got the best of me on that one - sorry about that.

You may wish to take a look at the firestorm over Gmails 'new look'. There are hundreds of posts from Gmail users who are protesting. Some of the threads are Here:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/gmail/thread?tid=7d1e82caeeaa1d04&hl=en
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/gmail/thread?hl=en&tid=6ab2c3b647af45e0
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/gmail/thread?tid=0009d8fba38be5ee&hl=en
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/gmail/thread?tid=07f52669fc92ca1b&hl=en
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gmails-new-look-sucks/329030630447800
Most of Google's threads are about getting rid of the new look:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/gmail/label?lid=613f70d9ff743405&hl=en
The Gmail Video announcing the changes received 40,596 dislike votes on YouTube. Here is the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfW5e6jVsMs
I can't get a real person at Google to answer questions - the moderators at these threads pretend the only posts that exist are the one where people ask why it is not compatible with X browser. But maybe you can. If nothing else, watching a multi-billion dollar company implode is certainly newsworthy. Since you do not want to fish through hundreds of posts to get the meat, here are a few with some interesting conclusions you may wish to follow up on.

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I watched that video.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 7, 2012 5:02 AM PST

The new look looks great to me.

Strange isn't it. You can please some of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

I've deleted your other thread.

Mark

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Thanks!
by numbawunfela / January 7, 2012 7:53 AM PST
In reply to: I watched that video.

For putting the other thread out of it's misery. It seems everything after a certain number of characters gets a strikethrough. That's what I get for posting at 1 am.

Here are a few of the posts of Gmail users:

"Last Friday [April 2011 soon after Mr Page took over as CEO], new Google CEO Larry Page announced that all Google employees will have their 2011 bonuses either go up or go down as much as 25% depending on how well Google "performs against our strategy to integrate relationships, sharing and indentity across our products."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/larry-page-just-tied-employee-bonuses-to-the-success-of-the-googles-social-strategy-2011-4

So to all those who say that Google should fire some people please note that, as I have said before, the main responsible for all the changes that are going on (not just in Gmail) is right at the top... and since he took over last April many things have been changing.... It's not change for change, there is a precise plan behind all this (see my previous posts in the other thread about cross-selling and so on...)

Also when you read the article you will see for example that Page wants these employees to push Google's social products on their "family and friends." So when you publish those statistics, take into account that Google has around 30 000 employees and that they also have families... To the "old" friends of the previous thread (somnath17, worldsoldestman, M.I.H. etc.) I just would like to say I am being very quiet these days but I''ll be back soon, hopefully with some more useful contributions Wink

**************************

What I would like to share with my fellow posters here is another article, published on November 9, 2011 by no less than The New York Times.
If some of the requests go against management guidelines, well, there is no way she or any designers can do anything.

Some of these points are: Avatars, this is an integral part of LP view of Google "going social"... so they will not give any option to remove those (silly) avatars from conversations for those who would like to. Keeping the old look, of course. Also see MIH remarks on ads, the new looks was made to better integrate Google+ but also to give more chances of clicking on ads. I strongly doubt they will even allow an old look theme (see my previous post) and however if Larry Pages does not agree, there is no way this will be implemented.

Also, many people may stop using Gmail but will know delete the account (I have kept my 1999 Hotmail account after switching to Gmail in 2004, why delete it, you never know?), so that can always say they haven't lost that many users, even if millions abandoned Gmail most will probably not delete their account.

And finally, to reply to a post above: "The new management team will attempt to project a positive impression on their peers and superiors by "shaking things up" to demonstrate their ability to implement proactive changes on a tight deadline. Google will lose lots of users, mommy and daddy will take the keys away from the kids, force them to move out and Google will eventually rebound." No, I wish it was like that. It comes straight from mommy and daddy and they own the house/boat... This is one of the most interesting articles I have read.

Here is the address http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/technology/googles-chief-works-to-trim-a-bloated-ship.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2

I suggest you read it all but I will give a "preview" here. Actually when I read it may me think about Google like a tale...

"Once upon a time... there were two young guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who created a very promising boat. In 2001 they realised that to be successful they had to hire a great steersman, it was then that Eric Schmidt joined in. He sailed the boat very far, its owners became billionaires and the boat is now a big transatlantic, one of the largest in the world.

In April 2011, Larry Page decided that he had grown up enough to steer the boat himself, after al l it is his boat, and took over Eric. But he is not the same kind of steersman. He is a very impatient person and wants to go fast, so he sails aggressively. Some of his crew member warned him some people could fall off the boat. He knows that and is ready to take the risk...". When you read the article you will see that some Google employees are really worried about what's going on... One of them, interviewed anonymously by the NYT said "He's going to lose some people at the end of the day". Sergey is with Larry. He says "That risk is worth it".

Also what is said in the article is that LP is personally involved in the new look and some of the changes in Gmail were his own initiatives. As I mentioned in a previous post, quoting his G+ page, he finds the new look beautiful, magical... So let's draw some conclusions, also based on the previous article I posted here (thanks MIH for adding an active link, could you do the same for this one?)

1. All the changes that are going on come from the plans of the new management. He knows he will lose some users but he is ready to take the risk.

2. Some (maybe many) of Google employees are worried. But they are not allowed to speak. As the article says "the company bars them from talking to the press without prior approval." If they do not promote his new ideas in a satisfactory way they will now lose up to 25 % of their salary (see previous article). And as you can imagine if some go against him and his co-owner they will lose their job altogether... Have you ever wondered why Sarah often says "I can't comment on this".

So you understand now why when so many people say "please, please, listen to us" nobody seems to listen or have standard replies such as it's too complicated or most people like it. Of course keeping the old look or giving an old look theme is possible and not so complex (see my last post on scripts) but they will certainly not come and say "Larry doesn't want it, sorry..." Personally I believe Sarah is probably sad about what is going on, but there is not much she can do or say. Of course she can help improve some details and I, as some other people on this forum, will keep on giving feedback to go in this direction, that's the only thing left to do, but we should be aware that the room for change is small...

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Thanks for the links
by Mr.Nobody / January 14, 2012 1:18 AM PST

Thanks for posting the links. I was definitely in the "I hate the new look and Google for designing it", but the threads surprisingly changed my mind. It was comforting to see so many others experiencing the same frustration I was and that they were doing a good job expressing it. It helped me calm down and reflect.

The threads reassured me that Google is working on bugs, and the Help with Gmail's New Look thread led me to find settings I actually like (density=compact, theme=dusk). http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/gmail/thread?tid=6d4a90367169bd02&hl=en I still find the new look harder to navigate than the old look, but some of that may be due to familiarity with the old.

This whole thing reminds me of the Gawker redesign. I used to go to LifeHacker, Gizmodo, io9, and Gawker daily. Since the redesign, I go to LifeHacker a couple times a month and the never visit the other sites. There's no doubt that Gawker has lost users and traffic, but from the few reports I could find, they've increased revenue. If Google manages to increase profits with their new design, they won't cry about losing some users. I still mourn the loss of the fun site Gawker used to be. I hope I won't be left mourning the loss of the great email system Gmail used to be.

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Gmail is impolding - take 2
by copack357 / January 16, 2012 8:59 AM PST

What is "impolding"?

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