back to article iGoogle personalises personal pages on other people's behalf

Google has angered some of its personalised homepage users by running tests of an apparently unpopular experimental layout, and refusing to let them opt out or tell them how long the tests will last. The firm announced the trials on its "Personalising Google" group pages on 8 July. To date, there are 579 overwhelmingly …


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  1. bigolslabomeat
    Thumb Down

    It's rubbish

    I've had it for a while now and it has meant I've stopped using iGoogle as my home page. They layout is ruined, it takes longer to load and they've expanded certain boxes without the option to shrink them and made other smaller without the opportunity to make them larger.

    Add to that their "feedback" form offers no way of commenting on the new layout, only iGoogle in general, you can't even say "i prefer the old one and I want it back".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I kinda like it...

    I've got this revamped look on one of my accounts, and because of my wide screen monitor it looks really good, but those without screen real estate will be very annoyed (as would I be on my non-widescreen monitor 'puter).

    It does have usability bugs though, and it's pretty slow to change tabs, which is annoying.

    I still can't understand why they haven't included an opt-in/opt-out though - exactly what data are they trying to gather - the most negative statement about Google on it's discussion forums ever?


  3. Britt Johnston
    IT Angle

    as good as EBAY

    Similar problems occured with the coming version of EBAY.

    As IT project managers know, it is important to appear to pay attention to feedback. The more so, if you are asking some subsection of the world to provide it for free.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Dan Mullen

    Don't panic!

    With iGoogle displayed in your browser, enter the following into the address bar:


    That should take you back to the old layout. Switch a '1' for the '0' if you haven't been specially selected and you'd like to see what all the fuss is about :)

  6. Anonymous Coward

    No, ebay is FAR FAR worse.

    Especially by having a "search" that's designed to NOT find only the things that you've specifically searched for.

  7. Rob
    Thumb Down

    And before you know it...

    ... Google replaces Microsoft as the one everyone loves to hate.

  8. Busby
    Thumb Up

    Thanks Dan Mullen

    Used your tip to see what the fuss is about because I wasn't one of those forced into the new layout and I prefer it. I am using a widescreen monitor which might be why but I prefer the look of it now.

  9. milan

    @Dan Mullen

    I'd be more than happy to have your children. Thanks

  10. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Gmail widget

    I haven't been presented with the new layout yet, but they would have a hard time making the Gmail widget worse. When I click on an email, I want to read it and then decide what to do with it (usually delete). But it doesn't open Gmail proper if I do that - it just gives me an entirely pointless preview screen of the email, and if I want to delete or move it, I have to go back to iGoogle and click on the Gmail header.

    Why can't it just open the email in Gmail when I click on it? It wouldn't take any longer.

  11. Bryce Prewitt

    imdb did the exact same thing.

    Same with eBay. Companies don't give a shit what their users think because they know their users won't go elsewhere and if they do, it won't be any significant percentage. Who are their competitors? Exactly.

  12. AListair

    i'm in the haters though mostly because the

    gmail widget seems to be broken, i can't imagine this is a univeral problem but it's very annoying.


  13. Mike

    I quite like it.

    Used the above Javascript to see what all the tears where about, and I actually like it.

    I'm annoyed I was'nt selected for it :)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Why do all big corporations like Google and MS (etc) think they can just ignore their customers?

    Well, because they can, the reason being that we are stupid, lazy, can't be bothered to change, love our free stuff too much.

    If you don't like it, just stop using it for heaven's sake!

    Paris, because she hasn't got a clue either.

  15. Samuel Walker

    This fuss reminds me of

    The new Sky News layout - expect then it was permanent.

    I haven't visited it since they launched it and it became obvious they weren't going to go back.

  16. RW

    Re: No, ebay is FAR FAR worse.

    Glad to know that I'm not the only one whose carefully crafted Ebay search string now returns incredible quantities of crap I Do Not Want.

    I wonder if there's a natural corporate life cycle to online enterprises. Someone with brains gets a good idea and implements it. Eventually, it becomes so successful that the bean counters and marketing flacks horn in on it and start to make changes that no user ever asked for, actively thrusting such changes down hapless throats, whereupon the original user base leaves and the cycle begins somewhere else.

  17. scott

    Are these people Googles customers?

    I thought Google made their cash off advertising and the users of Google were 'produce' harvested by Google for their customers.

  18. Solomon Grundy

    re: RW and Corporate Life Cycles

    Yes there is a natural life cycle to all businesses. It can get sort of complex but the three stages can be thought of as Sunrise, Plateau, and Sunset. The 'plateau' stage is where the bean counters and marking guys get involved. This makes their current customer base leave, then the company enters the 'sunset' phase where everyone bemoans the good old days but knows that the business is doomed.

    P.S. There are lots of different terms for the sunrise/sunset stuff - I just like these cause it's easy to remember.

  19. bigolslabomeat

    @Dan Mullen

    You are my hero. I've hed this god awful "upgrade" for ages now and it was doing my head in.

  20. Lol Whibley
    Thumb Down

    i'd be more interested

    in the results on how many none google-chosen-'testers' hits they take just off the publication of the reverse of the solution.. copy/paste>set to value to 1 and have a look.. yes/no descision with a stay or revert result coming out in the wash..

    the negative feeling that's powering the meme-thingy's propagation on the interwebs is as motive as any positve opinion, possibly more-so.. bad news travels fast as they say..

    bets that google are watching the stats as we type?

    or do we think they're just numpties?

    the thumb should give you a clue on my choice of end-state with regards the iggoggle mod

  21. Munkey

    @Dan Mullen

    Nice one Dan.

    @Google/ig.... Up yours twats.

  22. Webster Phreaky
    Jobs Horns

    Which BIG BROTHER is Worse? Apple (Jobs) or the Google A-Holes?

    Both of these two Frisco Cereal Bowl (Fruits, Nuts n Flakes) area Big Liberal (read Socialists or Fascists) have grown WAY TOO BIG for their britches. Whether it's arrogant A-hole Jobs and his Apple Dictatorship that the Apple Kool Aid Drinkers Zig Hiel to every 4 month ever-more expensive Gadget release (bugs n all) which chokes off individual freedom of ownership (especially the iPhony) as Apple decides what YOU can put on something YOU bought; or the fools at Google that truly believe that they rule the world just because they are the CURRENT defacto search engine (remember Alta Vista's dominance? Then AOL's?, Where are they now?)

    I'd say here that Yahoo's new home page is an alternative, but the morons at Yahoo have also fu@ked up their once fast loading "" home page with the pathetically slow loading Java based piece of shit that it is now .... and we users weren't give any choice either. Then there's the Yahoo advantage of letting every ONE in FOUR obvious pieces of Spam through for those $1.95 Rolex knock-off and buy See Alice Here emails. Who works over at Yahoo SPAM control? 5 year orld?

  23. Dave Driver

    I don't get it...

    Why would anyone want all this other junk on their google page? When I go to google I just want somewhere to type my search text. I don't want all this other junk cluttering up the page and taking longer to load. Am I missing something?

    Until 5 minutes ago I had never heard of igoogle. What's the point of it? I have bookmarks to take me where I want to go when I want to go there.

    Then again I'm one of those people who can't see why desktop search is such a big deal. I know where I filed my stuff so I don't need to search for it.

  24. Nic Brough
    Paris Hilton


    I can kind of see where they're going with it, and I don't think the actual aim is a bad idea, it's more flexible and potentially has some uses.


    1) It won't work for most users. In the long run, and with a lot of work, it could end up working about as well as the Lotus Notes email interface (which, after some significant improvements in v8, is as pretty as the "evil" part of the cast of "the hills have eyes"), but it still won't work for most of us.

    2) Inflicting trials on people without their consent is bad

    3) Not letting people opt out after you've totally screwed their pages without warning is <bad words> dumb

    4) Most of us don't like it, and their refusal to acknowledge the overwhelmingly negative response is a step in the wrong direction.

    <sigh> Can we have our old google back please? You know, the one that "just worked"?

    Paris, because you need the best eye-candy possible after seeing the new google

  25. David Simpson

    It's better

    Apart from the slightly buggy jumpy loading, I really like it, nice to have my contacts down the side.

    If you don't like use the java code posted or ...... what for it.......... Use a different product.

  26. yeah, right.
    Paris Hilton

    (free) = !(free)

    TANSTAAFL folks. Google are in the business of collecting data and using those who use their services as free beta testers. If you don't like it, switch to (or create) something over which YOU have control, and stop bending over and letting the evil (no we're not, yes you are) troll shaft you.

    Paris, because she also knows how to get a good shafting from evil trolls.

  27. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    I admit, this is the first time...

    That I've seen a company so blatantly considering their users as guinea-pigs.

    "Put this one in the labyrinth"

    "This one seems more intelligent than average, test him"

    "We should dissect this one... What? We can't? You sure?"

    "Oooh good, they found out about the Javascript code, we can go to the next test phase"

    "Let's yank their chain again"

    Paris, because she's yanking my chain...

  28. mike

    the only thing wrong

    The side bar/menu is redundent and useless fine i9f it displayed shortcuts to say you tube or blogger or other things in your account. but links to the same page is not needed.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What do you expect.... you really trust anything to the ad-man?

    These are the sort of people that change "Marathons" to "Snikers", "Opal Fruits" to "Startbursts" for no good reason.

    They are in the business to screw money out of you, nothing else. They really don't give a toss about you if they can a few more $'s out of you. It's an advertising agency, not some sort of world saviour.

  30. Mark Lewis
    Thumb Down


    It looked great on my 24" monitor, the only problem is I mainly use a laptop with a 15" screen. The changes made it pretty much unusable

  31. Dominik Stansby

    @Webster Phreaky

    Well I've got a Yahoo email account and I've never had a single piece of spam..

    Sounds like you've been signing up to some dodgy websites..

    Any My Yahoo loads fast here, almost as fast as the normal Yahoo UK & Ireland homepage.

    Maybe you need to change your internet browser? (I'm using Opera)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boo hoo

    You were using a free service provided by Google. Quite enjoying it, presumably, if it's so upsetting now it's changed. But now Google are trying a new format out and boo hoo you don't like it so much. And they aren't responding to 500 seperate pissy complaints. How dare they not spend hundreds of dollars of manpower appeasing a bunch of ungrateful twats?

    It reminds me of ... every other time a free service was tweaked only to piss off 500 ungrateful twats who complained and were ignored.

    You provide the service, you set the rules. Internet programming's not that hard. Off you go.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just tried it with the javascript trick

    If it wasn't for the sidebar I'd be quite happy to have that layout.

    Sidebar is quite pointless though, so I've reverted back.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Strangely familiar...

    Did the manual upgrade trick, and I've seen this UI approach elsewhere before....

    A knee-jerk reaction would be "urggh!", but the ability to quickly give a widget a workable amount of real estate is a functional, genuine usability boon. So use it as intended and will probably find it's better.

    (Alien icon, because any technology sufficiently advanced seems like magic! :-)

  35. ross killip

    change? no ta...

    Basically all this f*cking whinging is down to the fact that stupid people learn a system, and when it changes they feel out of their depth - the familiarity has been removed, and as they don't understand the underlying concepts, and they can't follow their internal breadcrumbs to get to where they want to be. Just engage your brain. And if you still hate / can't use / just despise change that much, vote with your feet, but stop complaining.

  36. Skinny

    Pushed me away

    I got 'chosen' a while back, I e-mailed, read the forums etc. to turn it off, but in the end, it made me setup a netvibes account, and that is now my home page instead of iGoogle.

    The sidebar took up too much space, the rss views were overly expanded, I couldn't set the links in feeds to open in seperate tabs, only in it's weird viewer thing.

    It used to all fit on one screen, now you have to scroll down two or so pages to see what you used to see on one. Netvibes after changing some of it's default settings, has solved all this for me.

  37. mcdorian

    It's reversable

    You may have added that the changes are reversible via javascript:_dlsetp('v2=-6542.05478');

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too Google-centric

    Gogole really didn't understand what they were doing here. I have iGoogle set up as my home page and configured as my RSS aggregator. It was incredibly annoying to _not_ be able to open a link by clicking on it (although I see that's changed now). Have Google completely lost the plot, redirecting me to another Google page instead of what I obviously wanted? I don't care for the waste of on-screen real estate either, and the survey that didn't allow you to comment on the new layout was a complete joke.

    Like everyone else, thanks to Dan Mullen. If they try imposing it again I'll be off. It'[s not as if I really _need_ Google after all.

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