The Plusification Of Everything

Google has been undergoing a bit of a makeover the past few months as each of their services gets folded into a new look that started with the release of Google+.

The use of white space is what you’ll notice first out of the box with the new Google.  The lines are clean, the layouts simple.

Here are some tours of the changes to find out exactly what Google did and how you can maximize your user experience.


In addition to the different density settings for the screen, threaded conversations have been condensed and avatars are being pulled in so you can see who you’re “talking to.” The new Gmail is much cleaner and apart from getting used to seeing white instead of blue in my mail, I’ve enjoyed the new look.  

That said, there is one feature that might get you into a little bit of trouble.  You know how Facebook likes to suggest friends? Well Gmail is now suggesting recipients to your email.  While you’re crafting the note, it recommends other people you might want to cc: on the correspondence.  One foul click and this could all go sideways.  No thanks.


Google Reader

First, we’re going to introduce a brand new design (like many of Google’s other products) that we hope you love. Second, we’re going to bring Reader and Google+ closer together, so you can share the best of your feeds with just the right circles. [Google]

The Google Reader changes that have people upset is the adjustment to the social funcitons.  You used to be able to create your own feed of ‘shared’ articles, now everything is being pushed to Google+.  There is a work around, simply edit the tags of the articles you like and pull those feeds if you don’t want to play with G+.

Google Docs

We began rolling out these improvements in early August with the documents list and have since upgraded our entire collaboration suite. You may have noticed that our new look matches other recent Google visual updates, which aim to bring a consistent, improved experience across our products. [Google]

The use of white space again is what you’ll see with the Google Docs upgrade, along with some improved icon notifications so you know who the doc is being shared with and when it is fully saved.

Google Bar

Changes to the navigation of Google have happened in the past few weeks as well.  First they moved the term search buttons from the top nav bar to the side nav bar causing mass confusion.  Now the top nav bar is disappearing all together.

While I’m all for the simplification of the design, and I do like the new Google Bar, it does feel a little bit like the Microsoft Start button – doesn’t it?   How 1995 of them. 

Despite being on the bleeding edge of technology, we web types are pretty resistant to change. How have you been dealing with “the plusification of everything?”

This article was originally published at The Future Shop’s Tech Blog.

Extreme Makeover Google Edition

Google is going through an Extreme Makeover, revamping the design of each of their products. While much of the makeover is cosmetic, some of the buttons have moved.

One of the button moves that’s causing a disturbance in the force, is the NEWS button in Google Search.

Previously, you would click the NEWS button at the top and Google would sort stories based on your search term.


Now that NEWS button takes you to Google’s News page.


Tech heavyweights Molly Wood of c|net and Nathaniel Bertram of PaidContent openly wondered what happened to the “sort by news” feature.

“Remember when you could do a @googlesearch and then click News and you’d get news results for your search term? Where’d that go? #justme” – @mollywood

It’s the little things that catch your eye sometimes.
To your average reader the almost microscopic adjustment to Google’s interface would barely register. It is literally a matter of an extra click.
Where once you could move straight from the web search into a news search simply by selecting the different search function in the top bar, you now need to open the news channel and retype your search term.
[Paid Content]

Well, it’s still there, it’s just moved.


The top nav bar is for universal Google navigation, the left side is now to drill down with the page you’re on. Train your hand to click left instead of top and you will still find your search term sorted by news stories.


@mollywood’s reponse was classic:

“That’s just … why!?”

Google Street View Live In Canada

buzz bishop future shop tech blogAll through the spring geeks across Canada weren’t buzzing about the hockey playoffs (all the Canadian teams were eliminated) they were talking about the subtle emergence of Google Street View cars on the streets of the true north strong and free. Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Halifax and Saint John were all combed by the cars and now the maps are coming live.

This morning news broke in Toronto as Google unveiled Street View and the switch has already been flipped for the rest of the country as well. (Google has a press event scheduled for this morning in Vancouver)

[read the rest of this article]
This article has been submitted to Future Shop’s Tech Blog where I contribute Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

How To Survive Gmail Fail

buzz bishop future shop tech blogFor the second time this month, Gmail has gone down, sending legions of geeks into a cloud spinning tizzy.

When it happened on September 1, Michael Kwan posted a simple question to Twitter “What would you do if Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail were all down at the same time?”

It’s a shuddering thought for some, but also a poignant comment on our reliance on the web for communications – both business and personal.

[read the rest of this article]

This article has been submitted to Future Shop’s Tech Blog where I contribute Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Google Reader’s River Of News

buzz bishop future shop tech blogWhen you come back from summer vacation and your neighbour drops the stack of newspapers on your kitchen table that you forgot to cancel, do you immediately sit down and stress about how you’re going to read each and every one of the papers, or do you apologize for not cancelling and just toss the stack in the recycling box?

We’re so used to disposing of news in real life, why is it so hard to let it just slide past us online?

I use Google Reader to manage my news feeds and am constantly feeling the weight of my “unread items.” A simple 90 mins away from the web can result in a few hundred new stories being posted to my stream.

[read the rest of this article]

This article has been submitted to Future Shop’s Tech Blog where I contribute Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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