A random discussion on Delhi winters with some colleagues reminded of the joys of riding on a winter evening in Delhi. The cold, slightly damp, wind across your face. The fog. The warmth of the engine. And the fog that doesn’t let you see too far in the distance, and because you are riding slowly you are actually enjoying the view. Missing my bike and those rides with Tk so much!
You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it’s right there, so blurred you can’t focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness.
Dear Google. You feel threatened by Facebook, I get it. You launch Google+, which I appreciate for its features, but don’t really use. I get it.
Other than Gmail, Search, YouTube, and Maps, the only other Google product that I use regularly is Reader. I am sure I spend more time it on than any other webapp. And I was a happy user. Content that Google did not really pay attention to it. Content that Google did not meddle around much with it, and let it be what it was meant to be – useful.
However, I am not happy anymore. You’ve taken my favorite app, and rendered it useless in the name of redesign and social strategy. I don’t get it.
You have removed the sharing features, without allowing the user any option. May I ask why?? To push people to Google+?? From a service that some (passionate) users swear by, to a service that not many use, at least regularly?? I will try and understand. Some ass could have suggested this. However, you could have handled this better. Here is what I think you should have done.
Create a feature that would allow people to (in a single click) create Google Circle containing the users they were following on Reader.
Allow, again in a single click, users to (by means of RSS or whatever suits your whims and fancies) follow the Reader shares of people in their Reader circle.
Allow for simpler sharing – clicking share should have shared the post (by default) with your Reader circle.
For further conversation and comments, taken users to the Google+ page for the particular post.
The benefits of this method. Satisfied users. More traffic driven to Google+. No??
The second point. Redesign. Should Reader look like GMail?? Not necessarily!! But then again, I am no design guru, But I am an understanding user. Maybe consistency is what you were aiming for. Unfortunately, what you ended up with is decreased usability. You see, the key feature of Reader is …. wait for it …. the ability to read. And the redesign has killed that.
The current usable are for content is less than sixty percent. While the total screen area (on my laptop) is approximately 1280×670 pixels, the area for actual content is 1010×490 pixels (rough approximates – screenshots below). That is, the content is on less than 60% of the screen space. Let me repeat that for you. Less than 60%
The story was the bushman’s most sacred possession. These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization. Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own. — Laurens Van der Post
People did not wait until there was writing before they told stories and sang songs. — Albert Bates Lord
To be a person is to have a story to tell. — Isak Dinesen
Have you ever entered an empty stadium? Try it. Stand in the middle of the field and listen. There is nothing less empty than an empty stadium. There is nothing less mute than stands bereft of people.
At Wembley, shouts from the ’66 World Cup which England won still resound, and if you listen very closely you can hear groans from 1953 when England fell to the Hungarians. Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium sighs with nostalgia for the glory days of Uruguayan football. Maracana is still crying over Brazil’s 1950 World Cup defeat.
At Bombonera in Buenos Aires, drums boom from half a century ago. From the depths of Azteca Stadium, you can hear the ceremonial chants of the ancient Mexican ball game. The concrete terraces of the Nou Camp in Barcelona speak Catalan, and the stands of San Mames in Bilbao talk in Euskera.
In Milan, the ghost of Giuseppe Meazza scores goals that shake the stadium bearing his name. The final of the ’74 World Cup, won by Germany, is played day after day and night after night at Munich’s Olympic Stadium.
The stadium of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia has marble and gold boxes and carpeted stands, but it has no memory or much of anything to say.