Google has made a number of fairly dramatic changes to the look and feel of some of its biggest products. Gmail, Google Analytics and even Google Search have seen major look-and-feel changes lately. Some people feel the new Google look feels wrong but I completely disagree.
Google has long been loved for its openness and its simplicity and while it has taken a couple steps back with openness lately they have moved forward with simplicity and integration across products. Although I do not use Google+ (and think it’s a redundant service given everyone already uses Facebook & Twitter), I do enjoy its interface. The Google+ look is clean and awesome and is finally being applied across Google products. The result is a unified UI across products that is easy to use and looks and feels like the modern web.
Google Search has remained particularly simple over the years with few changes to its design so some decent changes are long overdue. The integration of products along the top bar is one of the nicest additions (although not the most recent addition). Google is of course desperately pushing Google+, which I’m not overly pleased with but as long as everything else becomes more integrated as well, then all is well.
It is very convenient that you can now log into Gmail (or your default Google product) and be automatically logged in throughout other products like Google+, Google Analytics etc.
Back to the design discussion – the Gmail redesign was met with a lot of push-back but I suspect that most people were responding as a knee-jerk reflex and hadn’t given themselves a chance to get used to it. Very similar to the complaining about Facebook changes that are quickly forgotten about. By now, I’m sure most people have become comfortable with the redesign.
All-in-all, I like the changes. Everything is still simple, clean, modern looking and visually appealing. The integration between products is getting better and the look-and-feel helps reduce the feeling of fragmentation. Keep it up Google!