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More Google than you require
July 1, 2011 7:10 AM   Subscribe

New search goodies - While the rest of us wait for our Google+ invites, Google has quietly pushed some significant changes to its web and image search interfaces.

Search by image - similar to Google Goggles, you can drag an image to the search and find similar pictures and content. Doesn't seem to work very well with faces.

Voice search on your computer - we're just one step away from the Star Trek computer

Instant pages - top search results are cached in your browser before you click them.

What's the catch? They only work in Google Chrome.
posted by kakarott999 (114 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
They also redesigned their search page. For the first time, Google's not all-white; now the search bar and logo appear in light grey.

Calendar and Maps were redesigned to fit this new style. I hope they do Docs and Reader and Gmail soon, because those are some fugly web apps.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:14 AM on July 1, 2011


What's up with that weird scrollbar on the side that works in tandem with the "native" scrollbar?

Oh, and I'm using the latest Google Chrome.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:15 AM on July 1, 2011


The grey search bar is disturbing and wrong.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:16 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's the catch? They only work in Google Chrome.

Then how did I just do an image search (with a picture from my own HD, not one of the samples) in Firefox?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:16 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


*sniff*....

*sniff*....

This smells like Google Wave 2.0....

Hopefully it'll catch on this time.
posted by mikelieman at 7:16 AM on July 1, 2011


Give Chrome a try, it's a great browser when it comes to responsiveness, performance and just working out of the box.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:17 AM on July 1, 2011


No, it really doesn't smell like Wave.
posted by melt away at 7:17 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really like the Google Calendar and Maps redesign, but not the Gmail one (you can preview it by going to Themes). I wonder if they're going to do anything with Reader.

The black bar has grown on me too, but I'm still not sure how I feel about having a black bar, a gray bar underneath and a black text with red highlights in the search page


Also, I'm currently in the Google+ beta (there was a massive thread on Something Awful with lots of invites when they went live a few days ago), and it's very sleek. I don't know if it will take over Facebook, but it's very snappy and well made and not at all like Wave or Buzz
posted by Cloud King at 7:18 AM on July 1, 2011


zarquon - looks like you're right. image search does work in firefox.
posted by kakarott999 at 7:19 AM on July 1, 2011


Couldn't the new Google Image search feature be harmful to privacy? For example, say you're on OkCupid and use the same profile picture that you have on Facebook. If someone grabs your OkCupid image and drops it in Google Image Search, is it going to find the identical image on Facebook, allowing said person to link you to both accounts / get your real name?
posted by menschlich at 7:21 AM on July 1, 2011



Couldn't the new Google Image search feature be harmful to privacy? For example, say you're on OkCupid and use the same profile picture that you have on Facebook. If someone grabs your OkCupid image and drops it in Google Image Search, is it going to find the identical image on Facebook, allowing said person to link you to both accounts / get your real name?


Total Information Awareness FOR EVERYONE(TM)!
posted by mikelieman at 7:23 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, it really doesn't smell like Wave.

Just wait until they spring the ability to collaboratively edit Google Docs among one of your "Circles"....
posted by mikelieman at 7:24 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rory- you can turn on the new style for Gmail. There are details in this Official Gmail Blog post.

I don't think I like the new style as I think I get less information density as compared to the old version. I do like the look better, but everything is just too big.
posted by jz at 7:27 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Give Chrome a try, it's a great browser when it comes to responsiveness, performance and just working out of the box.


Firefox gives me equivalent performance, way, way, way more add-ons and flexibility, and contributes to being 0% more under Google's control.
posted by oddman at 7:27 AM on July 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


Hm, I uploaded goatse and it gave back a page of CEOs.

menschlich -- yes, but it's not very good yet. I dumped my MeFi profile image on it and it came back with some listsofbests pages I'd posted on. It missed everywhere else that that image is, though.
posted by johnofjack at 7:28 AM on July 1, 2011


I hope they do Docs and Reader and Gmail soon, because those are some fugly web apps.
GMail is done. Turn on "Preview (dense)" in Themes.
posted by bonaldi at 7:28 AM on July 1, 2011


One great thing about Google+ is how easy it is to share pretty much anything. You can just drag and drop images (and animated gifs! that are actually animated and work on your 'wall') or search for a youtube video through the Share window.

And when you consider all the things that are part of Google: links, picasa, documents, youtube and maps, sharing those things is going to be very easy
posted by Cloud King at 7:29 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate the new look for Google.com. The black bar sucks. The search result layout looks terrible. The old Google design was perfection. Looks like its time to start another search engine company.
posted by humanfont at 7:30 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


One thing Google has from me, unlike most web giants, is an unfailing trust in their mission towards pretty design. Plus is pretty. The black bar is pretty.

"You +1'd this" -- not pretty.
posted by Taft at 7:31 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's odd. I dropped in a picture of myself and it returned a page full of Slovenian diplomats.
posted by Iridic at 7:33 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hate the new look for Google.com. The black bar sucks. The search result layout looks terrible. The old Google design was perfection. Looks like its time to start another search engine company.

In a month or two you won't even remember what it looked like before.
posted by theodolite at 7:34 AM on July 1, 2011 [23 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "Calendar and Maps were redesigned to fit this new style. I hope they do Docs and Reader and Gmail soon, because those are some fugly web apps."

I use this custom stylesheet in Reader. I like it considerably better than the default look.

Docs is OK, and has been evolving constantly over the past few months. I do want to see Google continue to flesh out Docs and Sites. Both apps are great, but could just be that tiny bit greater.
posted by schmod at 7:34 AM on July 1, 2011


Where does your search image go when you upload it? I'd hate to think you're releasing images to the web just by running the search.
posted by BinGregory at 7:37 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


menschlich -- yes, but it's not very good yet. I dumped my MeFi profile image on it and it came back with some listsofbests pages I'd posted on. It missed everywhere else that that image is, though.

Argh. I find even that a little unnerving. It's not like I'm leading double lives or anything, but I have no desire for people to be able to drop a picture of me in at Google Images and find my various accounts across the internet. Oh well; c'est la vie, I guess.
posted by menschlich at 7:37 AM on July 1, 2011


Note that images you upload and image URLs that you search with will be treated and stored in accordance with Google's privacy policy.

Because this is reassuring but vague.
posted by BinGregory at 7:38 AM on July 1, 2011


I love that Zuckerberg has promised something awesome in response to interest in Google Plus.

Huh. Is it so awesome that it can take away the awkwardness of my husband's mother's mother's sister friending me?

I love that in Plus, you can toss some contacts into the hinterlands of your experience. The only thing I want to know is if people can find out they're in a circle I've labeled "Hinterlands."
posted by erinfern at 7:39 AM on July 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


A big part of Google's success was the minimalist search page, this new google plus stuff turns the page into a dog's breakfast which buries the main search function in a bunch of meaningless crap that most people will never care about. The tail is now wagging that dog.
posted by joannemullen at 7:41 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope they do Docs and Reader and Gmail soon, because those are some fugly web apps.

They have the advantage as being functional and non-intrusive though. I prefer interfaces which disappear as you get used to them, rather than get in your face all the time. Google is good at that. This is something that I find neither Apple nor Microsoft (nor Linux) have ever gotten right on their PC OSs. The new MS phone OS and their ideas for Windows 8 are quite interesting though.

Let's get rid of the last twenty years of GUI cruft like ugly window edges, crappy skinning and jujube-buttons on faux brushed steel.
posted by bonehead at 7:43 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This post would have really benefited from an a bit of an explanation of what "Google" is.
posted by srboisvert at 7:43 AM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Argh. I find even that a little unnerving. It's not like I'm leading double lives or anything, but I have no desire for people to be able to drop a picture of me in at Google Images and find my various accounts across the internet. Oh well; c'est la vie, I guess.

When decent search engines first came out the same thing happened with unique usernames - someone who had signed up as "Coolguy52252" on every website soon found out that a simple search would bring up both his online resume and his profile on Teen Amateur Forum. Better search tools and privacy erosion go hand in hand.
posted by theodolite at 7:43 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that Dense Preview Gmail looks nice. They did a good job of keeping things simple without removing anything. It's still not as good as MobileMe's web interface (and now that it's becoming the free iCloud, there's a legitimately well-designed competitor for the first time), but it's nice.

I'm okay with not having a web interface for Reader, because I use Reeder.app on my Mac, and it's the best RSS reader I've used. As for the new search interface: it is much better. Google's been ugly for the last four years. It's not that I mind "blank and minimalist", it's that Google is not a minimalist search engine. They keep adding more and more things to it. And they refused to think about redesigning the page to fit in all the various aspects, so it was looking more and more cluttered. It's good that there's a visual separation between the top bar and the search, and between the search and the results. I like that the sidebar is done in red and the main bar is done in blue. It's fucking great design!

I'm excited about where the Web is right now. We have a bunch of giant companies who are legitimate threats to one another. Apple's threatening Google, Google's threatening Apple and Facebook, Twitter's threatening Facebook. Microsoft's a wild card that's getting smarter and more desperate. Hewlett-Packard and Nokia are surprisingly not sucking. Amazon can strike at any moment.

I'm also excited because the internet is moving away from the tasteless "emacs" crowd and towards the "ordinary human beings" crowd. Insult Google's new design all you want. It's better. They made it because it's better. I like it more because it's better. The complaints just make it more fun.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:44 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


erinfern: "I love that in Plus, you can toss some contacts into the hinterlands of your experience. The only thing I want to know is if people can find out they're in a circle I've labeled "Hinterlands."

You can do this in Facebook too, and restrict individual albums, posts, and profile content by group (They've had this feature for a long time, although it's gradually gotten more difficult to use).

However, privacy settings don't always seem to be enforced. WTF, Facebook. Thanks for outing me to Grandma.

I was a stalwart FB apologist for quite some time. I think I'm gonna move to Plus if the userbase grows large enough. It actually seems like it has the potential to be a bit more "intimate" than the clusterfuck that Facebook has become.
posted by schmod at 7:44 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's still not as good as MobileMe's web interface
Until MobileMe gets conversations and search anything like as good as Google's it's not even in the same game.
posted by bonaldi at 7:46 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find the instant pages a little bit worriesome.

If I search the wrong keywords (or, depending on how this melds with that whole instant results while you type thing, parts of keywords), is Google going to cache porn/hate literature/other undesirable things on my computer for me?

Because, say I'm searching for scholarly information on white supremacy groups. I don't want the Heritage Front's webpage downloaded onto my computer as a result. Not if I haven't specifically chosen to go there.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:46 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bonaldi: MobileMe does have conversations. As for search... I'm not being facetious when I ask, what more do you need out of email search than "search by name" or "search by word in email"? Maybe I don't get enough email because I've never had a problem with searching through mine.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:47 AM on July 1, 2011


jacquilynne: "If I search the wrong keywords (or, depending on how this melds with that whole instant results while you type thing, parts of keywords), is Google going to cache porn/hate literature/other undesirable things on my computer for me?"

It could also lead to better plausible deniability, though. If this sort of caching and prefetching becomes very common, there may be less weight given to evidence based on some random shit showing up on a scan of a seized hard drive.
posted by gilrain at 7:49 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


When decent search engines first came out the same thing happened with unique usernames - someone who had signed up as "Coolguy52252" on every website soon found out that a simple search would bring up both his online resume and his profile on Teen Amateur Forum. Better search tools and privacy erosion go hand in hand.

Yeah, I know. I guess now we can add another thing to the list:

1) Unique usernames if you don't want to have accounts linked
2) Unique passwords
3) Unique profile pictures

Boo.
posted by menschlich at 7:49 AM on July 1, 2011


Google looks like it is in mourning with the black bar.
posted by charred husk at 7:55 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bonaldi: MobileMe does have conversations.
Not that I can't see it doesn't. It doesn't even have Mail.app's pretendy conversations, let alone Lion's so-close-yet-so-far attempt.

As for search... I'm not being facetious when I ask, what more do you need out of email search than "search by name" or "search by word in email"? Maybe I don't get enough email because I've never had a problem with searching through mine.
You don't get enough email. How about "search by attachment within date range"? Use that all the time. Or search by "attachments are images"? "Search more than four years of mail in a few seconds" is especially where MobileMe mail gives up.

MobileMe mail is a pretty, less-powerful version of Mail.app on the web. It's iPhoto lite. GMail is Aperture.
posted by bonaldi at 7:57 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It actually seems like it has the potential to be a bit more "intimate" than the clusterfuck that Facebook has become.

"Intimate" is exactly the word I'd been looking for, for this. It lets you take a Facebook or Twitter-sized audience and split it into intimate conversations. Nice.
posted by bonaldi at 8:00 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google Video
Google Catalog Search
Google Catalog Search
Dodgeball
Jaiku
Google Mashup Editor
Lively
Google Print Ads
SearchMash
Google Answers

All gone.

I feel a bit melancholy about all those videos on Google Video that simply vanished along with the service.

And now they're only offering 10 emails with a free Gmail App account. It was 500, then 100, then 50, now 10.
posted by rmmcclay at 8:01 AM on July 1, 2011


There's only one Google Catalog Search that's gone. =)
posted by rmmcclay at 8:02 AM on July 1, 2011


I wish Cuil was still around inventing wacky broken shit. I'd love to see their take on a social networking site.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:03 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Change is bad, I fear it. I'm going back to AltaVista on my MicroVAX.
posted by tommasz at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Chrome NOT required. I was searching an image last night and the Search By Image option came up. I'm on Safari 5 on MacOS X 10.5. I don't know about anything beyond that one feature, but I'll check it out.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:06 AM on July 1, 2011


Yikes. The new GMail theme is really, really bad. Not "dense" at all.
posted by schmod at 8:11 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


jacquilynne, a prog like CCleaner is a very worthwhile addition to the start menu; it clears out cache, cookies, recycle bin &c and gives a back massage on the way out.
posted by peacay at 8:12 AM on July 1, 2011


I love the Image Search's best guess. Some good ones:

A picture of my friend in front of a poster of the Brooklyn Bridge -> Best guess for this image: new york brooklyn bridge
Kevin Durant dunking on Brendan Haywood -> Best guess for this image: emo girl sitting alone
Reddit Alien -> Best guess for this image: south korea flag
posted by trueluk at 8:13 AM on July 1, 2011


A big part of Google's success was the minimalist search page, this new google plus stuff turns the page into a dog's breakfast which buries the main search function in a bunch of meaningless crap that most people will never care about. The tail is now wagging that dog.

I really don't know what you're talking about.
posted by azarbayejani at 8:15 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


It actually seems like it has the potential to be a bit more "intimate" than the clusterfuck that Facebook has become.

For some time I've struggled to put my finger on what it is exactly that disappoints me about Facebook these days. I think this may be it.

I mean, after all, why are we all here? Tighter control. Intimacy flows directly from that.
posted by stroke_count at 8:17 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Give Chrome a try, it's a great browser when it comes to responsiveness, performance and just working out of the box.

It is a great browser and I want to make it my primary, but would it kill them to add a bookmarks sidebar? As far as I can tell there's no way to do that, even with extensions. Does anyone use Chrome and also manage a large number of bookmarks in some reasonable way?
posted by The Bellman at 8:19 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, I opened one browser window with an account open to current Gmail, and one open to new Gmail (dense) and compared how many emails show up in the inbox in the same size window.

29 in the current version, 25 in the new version. One of those is lost to the fact that the header is now about one email header longer so the list starts lower, but the other 3 are lost to incredibly amount of white space even in the dense version.

The non-dense preview cuts that down to 18. And is hideous.

My biggest issue is actually less with the spacing of the emails in the index but with the spacing of the labels on the side. They take up so much vertical space because of the white space that they push my calendar completely off the page, and that's with most of them set to only display if they have unread items.

Actually, scratch that. My biggest issue is with the giant RED compose mail button that actually causes my vision to swim a bit as it's sucking my attention into its vortex. I can't even remember the last time I actually hit a button to compose a new mail in Gmail anyway, so the fact that it is so glaringly the single most prominent element on the page is extra-annoying.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:20 AM on July 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Bellman: "Give Chrome a try, it's a great browser when it comes to responsiveness, performance and just working out of the box.

It is a great browser and I want to make it my primary, but would it kill them to add a bookmarks sidebar? As far as I can tell there's no way to do that, even with extensions. Does anyone use Chrome and also manage a large number of bookmarks in some reasonable way?
"

Yes! Pinboard.in, which has an awesome Chrome plugin.
posted by gilrain at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2011


You can do this in Facebook too

You can, it's true. But Facebook buries all its privacy settings so deep...I'd call it a UI disaster, but not all bad design is unintentional. They don't *want* you to find those settings. They want it to be difficult to do. Google Plus flips all of this and says, "OK, you want privacy? HERE. Click here."

So unless you want it, no more outing to Grandma. I don't trust Google wholesale, but I do trust them much much more than Facebook.
posted by erinfern at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've got to say, Non-Dense Preview really sucks. I have no idea who thought that was a good idea. Maybe everything's so big for touch screens or something?
posted by azarbayejani at 8:26 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rory Marinich: I'm also excited because the internet is moving away from the tasteless "emacs" crowd and towards the "ordinary human beings" crowd. Insult Google's new design all you want. It's better. They made it because it's better. I like it more because it's better. The complaints just make it more fun.

I'm disappointed, since the internet seems to be moving away from the utilitarian "emacs" crowd and toward the clueless "ordinary human beings" crowd. Google's new design is worse - it's more cluttered and visually confusing, and dedicates a much smaller portion of screen real estate to actual search results. It's worse. They made it worse to try and sell you all their other functions that most of us don't ever use or give a toss about. Oh, and more advertising. I dislike it because it's worse...

Or you know, we could both acknowledge that we're dealing with opinions. There are legitimate reasons to like and dislike the new design. The fact that you fall on one side of the fence doesn't make your opinion literal fact.
posted by Dysk at 8:28 AM on July 1, 2011 [14 favorites]


You know, MetaFilter turned into Slashdot so gradually, I didn't even notice.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:31 AM on July 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


Or you know, we could both acknowledge that we're dealing with opinions. There are legitimate reasons to like and dislike the new design. The fact that you fall on one side of the fence doesn't make your opinion literal fact.

Totally! Some of my best friends are emacsers. I see where they're coming from, and sometimes I'm in that state of mind myself. But it's fun to tease them sometimes.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:35 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, scratch that. My biggest issue is with the giant RED compose mail button that actually causes my vision to swim a bit as it's sucking my attention into its vortex.

I actually much prefer the new version, but I totally get where you're coming from. The thing I'm worried about is that while the (dense) version is something I'm pretty happy with, when they switch to it for good the non-dense version will be the standard and it will only show you the dense one on smaller devices.

That said, they're promising themes in the new version too, so hopefully there'll be ways to tone this down to suit you, too.
posted by bonaldi at 8:47 AM on July 1, 2011


If you like Search by image, you should install Google Goggles on your android phone, or the Google search app (which includes Goggles) on iPhone. [self promotion]
posted by bananafish at 8:51 AM on July 1, 2011


So unless you want it, no more outing to Grandma.

Not necessarily true. From Google itself "Remember that anyone a post is shared with can see all comments to that post, who else it's shared with, and share the post with others."
posted by oddman at 9:01 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm petty sure they will keep the current Gmail look as a theme you could switch back to.

You can go back to the old Calendar look too, if you want
posted by Cloud King at 9:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


entropicamericana: "You know, MetaFilter turned into Slashdot so gradually, I didn't even notice"

HURF DURF IF LINUX DOESNT WORK FOR YOU YOU'RE STUPID AND USING IT WRONG, IF YOU DONT LIKE IT THEN YOU'RE ALWAYS WELCOME TO WRITE SOMETHING BETTER DID I MENTION YOU'RE A FUD TROLL ON THE MICRO$OFT PAYROLL OH YEAH AND GNOME 3 IS AWESOME
posted by dunkadunc at 9:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gmail definitely needs a makeover to remove clutter but they went too far! Everything is f l o a t i n g ...
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:09 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love that in Plus, you can toss some contacts into the hinterlands of your experience. The only thing I want to know is if people can find out they're in a circle I've labeled "Hinterlands."

Google says: "When you place people into circles, or when you share with your circles, we won't disclose the names of the circles people are in."
posted by escabeche at 9:12 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you like Search by image, you should install Google Goggles on your android phone, or the Google search app (which includes Goggles) on iPhone.

It doesn't work very well.

However, Google Goggles works great as a barcode reader.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:17 AM on July 1, 2011


oddman: You can disable resharing of a post. But yeah, you'd have to choose who you were outing yourself to carefully, or say "and don't tell Grandma!".
posted by bonaldi at 9:28 AM on July 1, 2011


My question is, will Google+ have better people on it?

I've extensively pruned my Facebook contacts of the worst offenders, and still... nobody has anything REAL to say- the signal-to-noise ratio is terrible. It's people playing Zynga games, posting News-of-the-weird links, and sometimes going off on rants about poor people abusing the welfare system. I posted a link about how I had just released music on a record label and the only people who responded were people who I haven't met in real life. Nobody cared.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:29 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc: "My question is, will Google+ have better people on it?"

You need to find better friends IRL.
posted by schmod at 9:31 AM on July 1, 2011 [12 favorites]


entropicamericana: "You know, MetaFilter turned into Slashdot so gradually, I didn't even notice."

Can we have a meta-thread someday about what the hell exactly happened to slashdot, and how we can prevent it from happening here?

posted by schmod at 9:32 AM on July 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


schmod beat me to it, but yeah...there's a very simple solution to your problem.
posted by mysterpigg at 9:33 AM on July 1, 2011


Google has quietly pushed some significant changes

Uh, no. Not very quiet. Changes announced on blogs that have hundreds of thousands of subscribers do not equal "quiet."
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:39 AM on July 1, 2011


The search result layout looks terrible. The old Google design was perfection.

Everyone always says this. And it's understandable, because after you use something long enough, it becomes completely transparent. It feels like perfection because you can use it without effort.

Use the new results for a year and then find a screenshot of the old results. I predict you will be horrified.
posted by the jam at 9:43 AM on July 1, 2011


and it's understandable, because after you use something long enough, it becomes completely transparent.It feels like perfection because you can use it without effort.

Hmmm. That's an interesting statement, any evidence to back this up?

If you're familiar with the recent Netflix "Watch Instantly" ui redesign, it's been a month or so since that was out and I hate it just a little bit more every time I use it. I would be horrified if they stay with that for a year.
posted by jeremias at 10:02 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else supremely annoyed by the +1 icon next to every search result that animates every time your mouse moves from one to the other? The new design I can take or leave but the animation is ridiculous.
posted by zsazsa at 10:12 AM on July 1, 2011


Do not want.

I hate, hate, hate having things that are already beautifully designed and clean and clear and workable fiddled about with gratuitously because they don't look "modern" enough. If they change to this and don't give me a way to change it back, there will be trouble.

Big red COMPOSE MAIL buttons will not be permitted in my browser. Just no.
posted by flabdablet at 10:12 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap. I just went to www.google.com for the first time in a hell of a long time (usually I just use the Firefox search box) and there's this hideous black stripe across the top. What's that all about? And why does the logo render with a black hairline under it when I apply my usual 150% full page zoom?

Back to about:blank for my home page, I think.
posted by flabdablet at 10:22 AM on July 1, 2011


"My question is, will Google+ have better people on it?"
Ignoring the unkind snark about your friends, the answer is yes. Based on how I've seen people using it since launch, Plus is shaping up to be a Facebook-type environment for the kind of cool strangers you currently meet on Twitter, rather than those farmville yokels that clutter up Facebook.
posted by bonaldi at 10:28 AM on July 1, 2011


That stripe is way too dark.
posted by Chuckles at 10:31 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I actually really like the new Gmail theme? And I say this as someone who is almost pathologically change-averse (though I'd be really happy if they did something to make the "Delete" button stand out).

I'm not on + yet, and I don't really understand what it's supposed to be or why I would possibly want to use it, but I've already lost a couple of hours to the new Image Search, and I could not be more pleased that I no longer have to rely on that horror show, TinEye any longer.
posted by wreckingball at 10:37 AM on July 1, 2011


Voice search seems like it would be really useful on a mobile.
posted by Mister_A at 11:03 AM on July 1, 2011


Ahh there it is.
posted by Mister_A at 11:05 AM on July 1, 2011


Voice search seems like it would be really useful on a mobile.

The Google app for the iPhone/iPod Touch has had voice search for a while now, and it works surprisingly well
posted by Cloud King at 11:06 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I want is Google Mail to give me the ability to sort search results by sender, recipient, date, etc. and to let me have more than 20 results per page.

Is that so much to ask?

I must be missing something in the Preview (Dense) theme. It looks horrible to me. The default theme is much "denser" than Preview (Dense) - as someone above noted. And what is "Previewed"?

Google looks like it is in mourning with the black bar.

Yeah, I kinda hate it too. It's easy to remove with a Gmail theme, but not for Reader, etc. I wish I could just make it white and unobtrusive. It's distracting.

Does anyone use Chrome and also manage a large number of bookmarks in some reasonable way?

If you mean a big long list of bookmarks, then yes, but yeah, it really needs a better bookmarking system. Also I would kill for something like TabMixPlus.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2011


Voice search seems like it would be really useful on a mobile.

Pretty standard on Android phones, I think.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:15 AM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: I'm excited about where the Web is right now. We have a bunch of giant companies who are legitimate threats to one another. Apple's threatening Google, Google's threatening Apple and Facebook, Twitter's threatening Facebook. Microsoft's a wild card that's getting smarter and more desperate. Hewlett-Packard and Nokia are surprisingly not sucking. Amazon can strike at any moment.

There's two things that strike me about your list.

1) These are all huge corporate giant types, like you said. The youngest is Twitter, and that's approaching it's 5th birthday. Where are the up and comers? Pandora, foursquare, yelp, groupon? None of those guys look like they'll hit big, really. And I hope that's not indicative of less innovation. Oh yes, and the oldest is Nokia, which is over a century old.

2) Speaking of Nokia, it's also the only non-American on the list. When are we going to see something come out of China, India, or hell, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, or Turkey? The whole globe uses the web, surely they have ideas on how to use it and tailor it to their needs. For example, if you've ever been to a front page of a major Chinese website, it's much more cluttered. It's interesting how that diverges from American site design.

Basically I want more little guys and more things coming not from the US. And if that means we have to take another chatroulette, then bring it on.
posted by FJT at 11:16 AM on July 1, 2011


So unless you want it, no more outing to Grandma.

Not necessarily true. From Google itself "Remember that anyone a post is shared with can see all comments to that post, who else it's shared with, and share the post with others."


On posts you create there's a "disable reshare" option. Granted, you currently can't apply it until after you've shared the post. It's possible then that if your friends are enormous jerks they can use that one second delay to tattle on you to grandma.

I can't really see how that's different than copying and pasting an email or relaying what was said in a private conversation though. It's really more about the trustworthiness of your confidants rather than a specific technology.
posted by bethnull at 11:21 AM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some of my best friends are emacsers

The pleating cry of the anti-emacs-ist.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:23 AM on July 1, 2011


Aaah yes, pleating.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:33 AM on July 1, 2011


emacs has a full-featured pleating environment which also irons and is a relational database.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:38 AM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love G+ so far, definitely their first potentially successful social network app. We'll see. It's fairly clean. I wish that it wasn't constrained on the side bars to force the main content into such a narrow box. I love that on my LJ, but for some reason it seems like a waste.

I just loaded the new gmail theme, and I like it mostly. I think the way the buttons bar stays at the top is nice, but they need to lower the google logo to line up with that, make the search bar sit to the right of the buttons (or left, not sure). And make it so it's all in line and so when you move up, you don't lose the search bar.
posted by symbioid at 11:41 AM on July 1, 2011


I've got this idea for future social networks- to incorporate the equivalent of a CAPTCHA to make sure Grandma can't create an account. I call it a CAPTGHA.

It would ask questions that grandparents wouldn't be able to answer due to their cultural and technological illiteracy, but younger people would be able to solve easily.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:46 AM on July 1, 2011


oh oh - dunkadunc, can it play a 17.4 khz frequency that only the younguns can hear? sorry, to all the grandmas and deaf young people.
posted by symbioid at 11:49 AM on July 1, 2011


I was thinking of something where it would trick them into giving themselves away by saying "The Googles".
posted by dunkadunc at 12:03 PM on July 1, 2011


oddman: "Firefox... and contributes to being 0% more under Google's control."

Not quite. Google pays the mozilla foundation millions of dollars per year to set your search engine to google as well as your startup page. Not to mention safesearch sends every site you visit to google to check if it's been reported as an attack site. Google's had their hands in firefox pretty much since day 1.
posted by inedible at 12:04 PM on July 1, 2011


Well, my start page is about:blank at home and my school's homepage at work, and I use DuckDuckGo or bing for searches. As far as safe search goes, I guess I can't do anything about that (can I?). At least I can be certain that I'm adding as little as possible to Google's attempts to package my information to their marketing clients.


I realize that Bing, Facebook, et al. are doing the same thing as Google, but by decentralizing my activities I can limit what any one company knows about me and at least try to protect my privacy.
posted by oddman at 12:26 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


That new image search is frighteningly effective. I uploaded a stitched panorama I took from the steps of the MNAC in Barcelona, and it spat back the right plaza instantaneously- it's not reliant on its existing photo indices at all.
posted by fifthrider at 12:26 PM on July 1, 2011


So I've been on G+ for a few hours now, and am already frustrated that all of my friends aren't over there and using it yet. Just getting itchy and impatient about the whole thing.

But the weird part is that I never got into Facebook. I have an account, but that's it.

So I don't know what the difference is, exactly, but I feel like with G+ I know immediately what it's for and what I could do with it. Facebook always just felt like a loud, crowded mess that I wasn't really invited to. This is better.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:35 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


For example, if you've ever been to a front page of a major Chinese website, it's much more cluttered.

In those examples, though, I think the hanzi is contributing to the cluttered look since the characters are visually denser that latin chars. (Although, there does seem to be a lot of flashy/moving ads...but that might be because their portals; Yahoo is pretty busy as well.)
posted by MikeKD at 1:52 PM on July 1, 2011


In my opinion, the new Google layout just doesn't feel like Google. I liked the basic white scheme they used back in 2008. I actually don't like the Instant Search idea, either. It can be a big hit on netbook processors, but I understand it can be turned off. But after you clear your cache, or log out, it comes right back.

I guess I'll just get used to this new layout like I did with all other layout updates.
posted by jwmollman at 3:22 PM on July 1, 2011


My question is, will Google+ have better people on it?

How to invite your pals to Google+
posted by mrgrimm at 3:48 PM on July 1, 2011


Scumbag Google (via)
posted by Ad hominem at 4:11 PM on July 1, 2011


if you've ever been to a front page of a major Chinese website, it's much more cluttered.

Hmm, might this just be an effect of the Chinese character set/font? It doesn't seem to have much of what I think of as "clutter", but then again I can't read a word on the page either.

I'm liking G+ a whole lot. Among my social group, it already has a lot of momentum. The silly "is this thing on?" type posts are gone, and actual updates are there. Photos are being uploaded. It's live for me. Only 1/4 of my Facebook friends are there, but I fully expect the rest to arrive when it's possible. Maybe the Zynga drones will stay behind.

Which leads me to my main question: What are they going to do about apps? There's no way this can compete with Facebook beyond my group of techy friends if they ignore this feature completely. At the very least, an API for status updates and photo sharing needs to exist for various integration apps. But like it or not, apps (particularly games) are a huge draw for a portion of the Facebook crowd. I guess Google could eschew that crowd entirely and focus on the more savvy, but this probably doesn't make good business sense, even if it would suit me just fine.

Some things I like, in no particular order: Ground-up design focusing on separation of social groups. Markdown syntax in comments. The snazzy interactive notification bar that shows up on other google pages that allows you to read and reply to comments without loading the website at all. All the other useless shit not directly related to status and photos just doesn't exist. They use +name instead of @name. Hooray!

Minor complaints: Some of the AJAX is flaky, even in Chrome. +1 is annoying, they need to make this a thumbs up like YouTube, or something. I want the rest of my friends there already.
posted by cj_ at 7:47 PM on July 1, 2011


I'm not a fan. Google's look has been airy white and blue for so long -- why suddenly switch to red and black? It's jarring and weird, especially on the homepage (and on Gmail's giant red "COMPOSE MAIL" button).

Also, what's with the +1 buttons on all the search results now? I don't really mind them being there, but do they really need to gleam individually every time I hover over a result?

I'll never understand the drive to fix what ain't broke when it comes to stuff like this.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:22 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't see this dark stripe everyone's buzzing about, but I'm getting a bit nervous (I even googled 'dark stripe', but it was in denial that there's any such thing).
posted by Mael Oui at 8:55 PM on July 1, 2011


As for apps, I imagine they're going to have them, and soon. I received a couple of invites this morning (after waiting, like, five days! C'mon, people!) and assumed that things had going more or less open. The friend-search doesn't really dissuade one from that belief - it suggests anyone that you could conceivably have in your contact bar over gmail. After adding about 150 people to my circles, I learned tonight that they were not getting invites after all (and thanks for the clarification, mrgrimm.)

Right now it is a fun toy with limited usefulness as a result of the velvet rope. Bring the people in and it will be far superior to Facebook, I have no doubt. But the few people I knew who were already in included game developers who have currently been working on Facebook games and the like. I have no reason to believe that those apps won't make their way over to G+ in short order, unless Zuckerberg is foolish enough to start a licensing war with Google, of all companies.

Now, if G+ allows a way for bands to create pages, then things will get really interesting.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:30 PM on July 1, 2011


I imagine you are probably right, games will come to G+. How they choose to do that will be important though. I fancy something that doesn't show up anywhere in my stream, ever. Yeah, I'm a dreamer.
posted by cj_ at 9:36 PM on July 1, 2011


Image search = cool as hell. They just need to create a right click context menu extension for it.

menschlich writes "Couldn't the new Google Image search feature be harmful to privacy? For example, say you're on OkCupid and use the same profile picture that you have on Facebook. If someone grabs your OkCupid image and drops it in Google Image Search, is it going to find the identical image on Facebook, allowing said person to link you to both accounts / get your real name?"

This cat has been out of the bag for a long time for example with Tineye.

erinfern writes "I love that in Plus, you can toss some contacts into the hinterlands of your experience. The only thing I want to know is if people can find out they're in a circle I've labeled 'Hinterlands.'"

Google says no. Good thing 'cause I've just created a hinterlands circle though maybe i'll call it whoswho)

oddman writes "Not necessarily true. From Google itself 'Remember that anyone a post is shared with can see all comments to that post, who else it's shared with, and share the post with others.'"

Well duh. It's always been this way and pretending technological measures can prevent it is foolish. If I tell my brother IRL that I'm gay there isn't anything stopping him from telling grandma. With text on the web people could always copy paste or retype or rephrase. Where G+ excels is it makes it easier to not slip this information accidentally. So if I ask my drinking buddies circle to keep an out for my pants it is easy to not share that information with grandma. It supposed to be possible in FaceBook but I'm not a power user there and it sure isn't intuitive how to do it. Google practically encourages this kind of information sharing slicing.
posted by Mitheral at 11:48 PM on July 1, 2011


Well, that was fast.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:23 PM on July 2, 2011


Dear God, here's hoping Google+ keeps the apps far, far away. If I want to play games, I'll go to Kongregate or something.

(I'm actually kind of hopeful this might happen. Facebook's profit margin relies on getting people to give it information and money for things. Google can collect money just on what people are searching for).
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:43 PM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


They just need to create a right click context menu extension for it.

They have, for Chrome and Firefox [.xpi link] (although the Firefox one doesn't work on FF5).
posted by Richard Holden at 10:46 AM on July 3, 2011


Awesome.
posted by Mitheral at 2:20 PM on July 3, 2011


mrgrimm: "Yeah, I kinda hate it too. It's easy to remove with a Gmail theme, but not for Reader, etc. I wish I could just make it white and unobtrusive. It's distracting."

There's a Greasemonkey script that does that.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:54 PM on July 4, 2011


What's up with Google+ - when they gonna launch it for real? End of July?
posted by mrgrimm at 11:19 AM on July 7, 2011


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