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November 30, 2011

Google's Hidden Navigation Menu

As previously anticipated, Google will drop the black navigation bar and will use a simplified navigation interface that will make the transition between two Google products seamless. Google+ notifications, the sharing box and the profile menu will be displayed next to the search box, while the list of Google services will be placed in a drop-down menu next to the Google logo.

"The Google bar, which runs across the top of the browser of nearly all Google services and offers easy access to Google's products, has recently updated its look for a more consistent, streamlined user experience and increased visibility of the most popular services," explains Google.



The new navigation interface no longer uses additional space, it's more compact and the short list of Google services that's displayed by default matches Google's simplified product line. The menu links to Google+, Web Search, Image Search, Google Maps, YouTube, Google News, Gmail and Google Docs, but you can mouse over "More" to see additional services. Here are the services that have never been included in the navigation bar until now: Google Wallet, Google Offers, Google Music, Google Mobile and Blogger.

While the new interface looks modern, it's also less user-friendly because the navigation links are hidden behind a drop-down menu and the average user might not be able to find them. Android's menu button wasn't a great idea and Ice Cream Sandwich made menus more visible, so it's not clear if this is going to work. Google's homepage will expand the product menu by default, but it will be interesting to see if Google users will actually notice that mousing over the Google logo lets them access Gmail, Google Docs and other services.


I don't see the new interface yet, but it's likely that it will be rolled out in the coming days.

Update: try the new interface.

99 comments:

  1. -1! Dislike!
    I'ld rather you keep the small black bar, and remove the big bar underneath It has NOTHING on it I need. Why do I need a ~90px bar when the ~30px bar is perfect.

    And good reader.. on the last page? Seriously? Why Reader Hating?

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  2. What about Google Reader? Is that buried in the sub sub list or has it disappeared completely?

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  3. They must be kidding. Not only Reader is hidden behind the "more" mouseover, but also Calendar.

    Why don't they make this darn navigation dropdown customizable...

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    Replies
    1. I agree, they should make the drop down customizable, or if they are going to keep the black bar, they should make that customizable. Some people may want to get to some things really fast, and they may be willing to work a little harder to get to other things, but if it is customizable, they can set it up to their liking.

      Delete
  4. Different people have different priorities Applications on the innermost menu (like Reader, Finnce or Photos) can be frequently used by some people while the applications on the first menu (like Search, Images and News) can be used rarely. For example any Chrome user would prefer to use ominibox for search instead of selecting "Search" from the Google Bar Menu.

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  5. Is it just me or does that +notification look more green than red?

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  6. No! we want the black navigation bar not this!

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  7. I agree the black navigation bar is much better why change something that works

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  8. I think the new navigation bar looks better.

    Google cant seem to win, when they redesign there new site to take more space they get moaned at. When they redesign the site to use less space they get moaned at.

    I am hoping they build some sort of auto adapt feature into the menu, so the menu changes to bring the service you use the most to the front whiles moving the ones you do not use often to the More menu.

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  9. I agree with the last post!

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  10. I think they're going in the right direction, as it does utilize screen space better. I hope all the links consistently open in a new tab (window) or in the same tab. With the existing menu bar, I never know where a link is taking me.
    Google still needs a way to give us access to their services when we're not on their sites. A lot of Chrome extensions do this, one of the the better ones being an auto-hiding side bar.

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  11. If Google can remember what tabs I closed most recently, and what websites I visit most frequently, why can't it remember what Google products I use? Hiding Reader? Not a good move. I use it everyday. Search? Please. It's right up on my Chrome browser, totally ubiqutious. I don't need a link. Photos? Sites? Rarely used. Make changes if you want. But be truly useful and considerate of your users and let us customize our menus!

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  12. And where is YouTube? Ok, we have link to Blogger now, but what about YouTube?

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  13. YouTube is in the main menu...

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  14. Also there is not "Sites" showing - will these move into the Docs List area ... and Will the docs area also morph to Google Drive?

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  15. And what about Groups? Will these be merged into Google+ somehow?

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  16. Gosh.. not more click in google docs logo to refresh. It will be two (2) clicks to refresh.

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  17. @Anonymous

    To refresh you can just click on Docs below the logo

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  18. WHEN WILL IT COME? WHEN WILL IT COME?

    Sorry about the caps lock, but I just want it so much as I rarely used GBar and now there's finally a way to get more screen space and semi-hide Gbar :)

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  19. I think the menu should work like the Start menu in Windows. The black section would be pinned sites (or "apps" as Google might call them), then in the More sub-menu, there could be the recent and/or other sites.

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  20. I liked previous look for Google navigation bar but I don't have anything against the new version as well.
    So far it doesn't appear on my account so can't say if is that good as Google claims, but overall looks is nice and clean as the rest of Google new design

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  21. Google Introduces Smooth Scrolling to Reader and a New Bar for Easier Navigation - http://www.tech.nolicio.us/2011/11/new-google-bar-smooth-scrolling-reader.html

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  22. Nice to see how Google came-up to extremely improve GUI and UX in the last few years.

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  23. Use the new Google bar now: http://tecno-net.blogspot.com/2011/11/truco-para-usar-la-nueva-barra-de.html

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  24. Super iGoogle extension has given back real estate a long time ago. I seems like we will have to turn back on the space hog header to be able to access to new nav menu?

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  25. Yeah, I like Super iGoogle extension, too--for Chrome. Maybe he'll make it shorter.

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  26. Alex,

    While I totally agree with you here (and in most cases), I can't help but notice that you've gradually become more and more negative about new Google features over the years. I've been reading gOS blog since before Chrome and Android, back in the days where the idea of a Google OS provided a glimmer of hope.

    It's just sad to see how Google has changed, and how that's changed you, me, and our impressions of them.

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  27. This is absolutely terrible. The bar takes up 3x more space while claiming to be more "streamlined," and things that used to take under a second to get to such as gmail now require a sub-menu. At the least make it CUSTOMIZABLE. google+ should by no means be at the top. This wastes valuable screen space and just looks foolish.

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  28. Waiting for this to come out.

    A vital improvement would be the ability to either manually customize the menu, or get it customized for you by frequency of use of lets say, a month.

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  29. Nice, but why we can't sort the order of Google products in the bar?

    Héctor.

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  30. How would you got about sorting? Toggle into some sort of edit mode? Maybe by clicking and holding, or right-clicking one of the menu items?

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  31. OK, The new look was forced upon me and it's really bad... How do I revert back to the black bar? I would hate to have to chuck Google to the side with AltaVista and Yahoo.

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  32. I don't mind the new layout, I actually think in some places it's better than the black bar. I think to make most people happy though, you should make it so users can put the services in an order they choose. If I use reader and music a lot, but not youtube and docs then let me swap them out

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  33. why does this new navigation menu have to pop up automatically by default when you go to the google homepage? it's ugly as sin and there needs to have an option of at least disabling that.

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  34. For us in BraZil we should change to this code
    document.cookie="PREF=ID=03fd476a699d6487:U=88e8716486ff1e5d:FF=0:LD=en:CR=2:TM=1322688084:LM=1322688085:S=McEsyvcXKMiVfGds; path=/; domain=.google.com.br";window.location.reload();

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  35. I wish there is a way for the user to select the links on the main drop down menu. Because I use Google Reader other than most of the other items that is displayed by default.

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  36. Anyone already got the new interface (without changing code)?

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  37. I hate it, it's ugly, it's too big, I liked it the way I had it set up. If I can't get rid of it I'll use another search engine. Too bad cuz I loved using google, it looked clean, uncluttered and nice.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I hate the search redesign. It hides critical functionality. I can't just click on a link I can see, but must take an extra step. A lot of people won't be able to find the functionality they need.

    After Google sprang this on me the other night, I switched my default browser search to other engines.

    As Bruce Tognazzini recently posted,

    "Graphic designers, left unchecked and unschooled, are likely to aim for maximum visual simplicity at the expense of both learnability and usability. Such interfaces require users to discover new capabilities by clicking around and seeing what happens. Users don't do that. In the most extreme cases, functionality desperately needed by the majority of users may actually be removed from products in the effort to generate visual simplicity."

    Two thumbs down, Google. This stinks.

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  39. I honestly love the look but there needs to be customization. If I could choose what services go where that would be great for example when I am logged into my personal account I would like to see reader, YouTube, music ext. under the main tab. When I am logged into my business account have docs and calender on it. Over all I think its a great step forward the only thing I don't like is having services buried because there not as "popular"...

    Also on the topic of services please stop killing the ones I use (scarred to try anything new in case its scrapped down the line resulting in losing all the time invested in the product). If it takes too much resources to keep developing just stop updating the product but please just keep them accessible.

    For all the people complaining about the new interface and threatening to leave Google just stop it... Do you pay for Google as a service? No! So lets just be thankful its free and that they are actively trying to better integrate all their services for your convenience. If its so bad start using Bing and waste half your life trying to find relative information on the topic your searching for.

    I look forward to any new improvements you guys roll-out next year. 2011 has been an amazing year for innovation on Google's behalf and I hope that after you finish updating the web interface that some time will be spent better integrating Chrome browser/OS and Android with all of Google's web services

    Two Thumbs Up, Google. This is Awesome.

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  40. I absolutely hate it. It is anoying, even though, if I click on google home page it goes away, it comes back every time, I am trying to do things. Take it away, and give us back our old google home page, with the cached option where it belongs. Or, give us that dislike it so much, at least the option to have the older home page.

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  41. Now that this feature has been added, every time I open up the google home page, the menu is active. Unless I select the text bar, I cannot type into the search engine. This means I can no longer open the google webpage and type what I'm looking for. Instead, one must select the text bar with your mouse before you can enter text. Even worse, there is no option to customize how this new feature is displayed. I'm not diggin'this at all.

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  42. Yuck yuck yuck, the black bar works and has a classic look to it. The new / proposed system sucks, please don't start acting like Facebook and changing stuff because you want to keep your engineers gainfully employed and forget your users.

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  43. UGLY I HATE IT. How can we revert to the black bar.

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  44. Please leave the black bar - -and the email system No change necessary.

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  45. google your Black Navigation Bar sucks. please change it back. less is more

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  46. I started searching to figure out how to get the black bar back. I didn't realize how many people were loosing their minds over the black bar lol. Some people are so dramatic over stupid little things.

    I already know I'm the minority because I like dark grey themes that take up the least amount of screen real estate possible. So it takes me a long time to set things up the way I like it. I was using a Stylish theme to make google darker but now the new googlebar doesnt work with my theme.

    Anyway, I'd prefer the new googlebar be thinner but I like the combined functionality. I agree with others that it needs some customizable options. But for now I guess I just have to wait for some Stylish themes to update for the new toolbar.

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  47. I want the old classic google look back.Even before the horrid black bar thingy! We should ALWAYS be given the ability to opt out of any 'new' updates.

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  48. Please don't get rid of the black navigation bar! I've seen screen shots of the new bar and it is not only too wide, but it is an ugly grey colour too. I much prefer the black nav bar. At least give us a way of customising the colour before implementing it!

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  49. I finally get my web brower clean up with clutter and then this big 1" hog spacing bar is now on top of my screen. The side menu bar keeps popping up in my way too. It has nothing in the menus I like anyway. I'm a fan of no clutter. This just adds clutter.

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  50. Wow, this new one sucks... Way too big and clunky. Bring back the black bar!!!

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  51. If you're going to have the drop down menu when hovering over Google, you MUST get rid of the black bar that NOW says: Welcome to the new way to navigate Google. Roll over the logo to have a look.

    Now I have to look at an empty bar and hunt down the links I previously had displayed...why?

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  52. So glad that people think it sucks as much as I do. Add customization and then I can live with it. No customization, no google sites, how annoying. Way to make things LESS accessible. Fix this google, it's horrible.

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  53. Still don't have it. Waiting...

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  54. Horrible!!!!!!! Takes longer to switch between WEB, PICTURES, VIDEOS. Make it stop!!!

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  55. The menu is open by default - it adds a click to do a simple search from the home page. Is there a URL for the search page, different from the home page?

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  56. it is great improvement. I like the new drop-off menu bar. However, to minimize the size of the top band will make it look sexy.
    By they way, how to remove the "Welcome to the new way to navigate Google...."

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  57. The odd thing is two of my computers running firefox show the old UI, and one of them is showing the new UI. I want to find the cookie that is on the machine showing the new UI and fix it to show the old UI!

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  58. I don't like it, just like with most of their "experiments" it's a total fail. It's not user friendly at all, now I have to mouse over then my eyes need to get used to the popup, then find the option I want, then finally click. It was easier before, when you knew exactly where to look at and simply click.

    All for what? The looks? Just like with their stupid fade-in that annoyed us for months. Let's hope they react faster to critiques than they did with fade-in. Meanwhile get used to be annoyed.

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  59. How come new Google features used to always have an optional "switch back to old look" link and also a "send feedback" link - but now, ever since Google+, changes are just forced upon us like cattle.

    All in all, I need MORE clicks to log out, MORE clicks to go to Calendar, and 4x as many clicks to access Google groups. How is this more streamlined? I don't, and will never, use Google+, so why should I stare at it's options while jumping through hoops to get to the features I do (and have for years!)?

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  60. I don't give a rat's ass about Google products. I only care about using Google with the search settings configured MY WAY.

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  61. With this UI, Google isn’t anymore my home page.

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  62. Calendar is now very slow to access compared with the black bar. I look at the calendar frequently from Gmail and often during a phone call to check availability or look at planning calendars with work colleagues. The nature of a calendar often requires looking at it whilst someone is waiting for an answer. I use a touch pad and now instead of a quick glance to find the link in the black bar I have to 1.Have the thought to move to the google logo and HOVER 2.Wait for at least another second for the drop down to initiate 3.swipe my finger 3 times to get to the bottom of the list (even on a fast setting) 4.swipe my finger accurately to the top right of the extension menue 5.finally I can initiate a click to open the calendar unless I have been clumsy and allowed the menu to close in which case start all over again. This is not easy whilst talking to a client. It should just be ordered not in terms of most used but which items need rapid access due to the likely context of use. For example I use news many times per day but I would swap its position for Calendar because its no big deal to browse to news a little more casually.

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  63. Why? Was the screen so cluttered before that the little menu in the corner hide to be hidden. Now instead of just clicking on whatever tab I wanted I now have to wait for the the menu to drop down and then click on what I want? How is this simplifying something by adding an extra step?

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  64. I don't mind the new navigation drop-down, but allow me to customize it! I want MY most-often-used functions on the main menu, not what somebody else thinks I want there!

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  65. Both black bar & this new design is just ugly. I think that this new design is worse than the black bar.

    I miss classic and being able to click on translate on the right hand side of the search bar. Now translate is hidden under 'more', which really sucks. Get rid of 'more' altogether, and get something that has everything and actually works.

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  66. Ok I don't know what I have to, but I can't get rid of the black google navigation bar. On my laptop I can get this "new" drop-down menu look, but on my desktop PC I can't. Only difference is laptop is running Windows 7 and desktop is Windows XP. Any thoughts? ccowger@iinet.com

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  67. This is horrible, it's overtly thick, very unessisary use of space. The color is abismal and the clunky menu with a multiple sub menus that you have to click on per each is a joke. It's inefficient and just plain annoying. There is zero reason that you can do some mild customizations to your own profile and page setup. Fix it please!

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    Replies
    1. "Fix it please" implies that it is broken. It is not. As someone who has developed Web based UI for over 10 years, I can tell you that there is nothing more frustrating than having spent months developing something, have it pass QA, User testing and a pilot program, then when you roll it out to the general public, They complain about the color. :-)

      Delete
    2. Then it wasn't user tested, was it.

      Delete
  68. This new google bar makes working on google a tremendous annoyance. They can't seem to get it right. They should realize that TEXT based access pages are the best way to go - NO Flash, no drop downs. This makes it friendly for people on slower connections. All these added features that require extra key strokes are not user friendly. Think about it - every added keystroke if you are handicapped and using your feet or mouth to type; every added drop down menu that has to load means that it takes that much longer for your page to load, meaning that people are going to look for faster loading solutions. I don't get what google is doing half the time. I like in principal what they try to do but honestly, are they actually talking to users?

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    Replies
    1. Easy Yahoo here we come

      Delete
  69. i have a small pc / notebook eee pc and when google keep farting around with ether blue bars wanting me to join some thing or a inch of unused space it pisses me off ..if it aint broke don't fix ..or at least give me an option to turn off or go back the way i like it ..

    y.t. T D inc.

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  70. I wish I could change the order of selections so I could use the calendar, for example, and check news, without having to navigate through submenus. I just won't do it. I don't mind the look,l but it just does not work for me.

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  71. This new UI SUCKS outloud. Give me back my small black bar!

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  72. HORRIBLE. At least give the option to change order of selections...
    why bury calendar!?!?!

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  73. Thanks for the unnecessary change to something more complicated. Great way to over-optimize...

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  74. Thanks Google - for deciding without so much as offering the option to preview - your latest marvel in making your formerly clean, friendly, accessible interface one more cludged up delay and waste of my time moving and clicking and looking!!!

    MUCH APPRCIATED!!!!

    NOT!!!

    FFS!!! People, it USED TO BEN NICE TO SEE WHERE I WANTED TO GO!!!
    WHEN I WANTED TO GLANCE UP!!!

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  75. This new Google navigation bar is NOT user-friendly at all for desktop users. Sure, for tablets and touchscreen devices it may work "seamlessly" but for desktop Mac or PC users it is downright slow, clunky and arbitrary:

    My 3 most commonly used Google products (for both personal use and business) are:

    Gmail
    Calendar
    Documents

    Google, please do not force everyone to use this new feature - at least make it OPTIONAL for the hundreds of millions out there who do not use touchscreen or tablet devices either at work or at home.

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  76. Oh Google! Oh Google! Stop changing the interface or at least let US choose what interface we want to use.

    We absolutely HATE your black menus. They are abominable.

    Just bring back the white menu at the top and be DONE with it.

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  77. I use an small screened computer, an eeepc, and the drop down menus don't fit. Can I change a setting to customize the interface?

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  78. I hate the black shareing box. It always pops up and you have to click it off. If it is not gone soon the heck with google. Google would listen to their users instead of their developers just like the old black tool bar I hated so much.

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  79. even I'm not satisfied, but since we all complain soooo much about the google menu bar changes, the [google team] should leave an option at the bottom of the home page for users to decide whether they want to use the black bar or the navigation drop down menu, just as the do with igoogle/classic google... but I'm sure someone would still complain about that too....

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  80. I STILL HAVENT GOT IT

    and the stupid cookie editor doesnt make any difference. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME ADVICE!!!!

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  81. What is the story with this... I had it then it went away then I had it then it went away, then I used the the cookie editor and had it for a while and it went away again and I can't get it back.

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  82. Why did you remove the "Scholar" link. It was so helpful. Now I can't navigate between the two easily. I find it very inconvenience.

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  83. Seriously, Giggle. Allow the user to decide what he sees on his "custom" Google page. In my experience, the inclusion of Google Scholar in the former incarnation of the menu bar help me and other academics save several work hours each month by obviating the need to navigate the arcane and consistently cumbersome websites of the their sponsoring institution's library. It offered DIRECT LINKS to subscription-level article right there in the results!!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE bring it back!



    allowed academics to save about an dozens of hours per year SCHOLAR

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  84. Freedom of speech and choice. As I read these complaints, I do not understand why google is not paying attention...No wander they have dropped. Good old fashioned service has always worked, quality people want it. The fly by night, changing people are not your faithful clients or customers, if you will. What goes around, comes around....I would wish you luck, you are going to need it, I am sooooo disappointed in the change of my gmail HORRIBLE, and now google. Doc.

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  85. i would like to know on my phone it say your email will appear shortly and it also says its syncing but its not working,why?

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  86. Do these idiots EVER do an research before making major changes or do they just stumble along in the dark like MORONS?
    Google NEVER PAYS ATTENTION, JUST LIKE ON YOUTUBE which is TOTALLY DESTROYED and barely usable, just an awful awful sack of shit.

    GOOGLE, IF YOU WANTED TO COMPETE WITH FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE WAS YOUR WAY - now you have TOTALLY ruined it for any social networking experience, and actually BELIEVE google+ going to compete with facebook REALLY???? shit.

    Are you BLEEDING MONEY, because you ought to be. I used to be on youtube for HOURS A DAY much more than facebook, and IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN, THAT IS YOUR ADVERTISING MONEY RIGHT THERE. NOW??? almost never.

    WHO ARE THE IDIOTS WHO MAKE SUCH CONSTANTLY UPDATES AND CHANGES, WITHOUT ANY CONSUMER ADVICE OR RESEARCH DONE, AND WHY OH WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THINGS MUST CONSTANTLY BE CHANGED, ESPECIALLY THE THINGS THAT ARE LIKED AND WANTED.

    MY GOOGLE WON'T EVEN AUTOMATICALLY TRANSLATE SWEDISH ANYMORE AND IT DOESN'T ASK ME IF I WANT TO TRANSLATE PAGES ANYMORE - IT JUST DOESN'T WORK.

    UNDER THE HOOD IS ''GONE'' AND THE "UPDATED VERSION" OF 'see advanced blah de blah' doesn't even have the SAME ABILITIES. IT'S ALL A LIE, and I'm starting to HATE YOU NOW GOOGLE.

    I hate IE even more, but, there are other browsers, and you have got to be losing users DAILY.

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    Replies
    1. Guaranteed they're loosing hundreds of thousands of users every single day. They can't compete any longer. Adios Googlee wooglee!

      Delete
  87. No matter how Google's people try to improve their products they screw them up very badly. Can't they see that they should just LEAVE EVERYTHING ALONE!

    I've had two major issues in as many days and these issues just weren't necessary. It's like when someone does too much crystal meth and they can't stop fidgeting. Well that's what Googles doing. TInkering with things that already work well.

    Once again, LEAVE EVERYTHING THE WAY IT IS!!

    ReplyDelete
  88. I have to search "mail", "map", "translate"... keywords from now on~
    Are you trying to make more viewrate right? =))))

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  89. It will be amazing if the customization is enabled for logged in users

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