Google’s products used to augment humanity with beautiful tools that helped us get the information we wanted to see. That was the superiority of Google search, Google Reader, gmail with its excellent spam filter, and YouTube, which allowed you to subscribe to any individual who might want to post videos. Empowering humanity to efficiently search for and find information, and then to choose what information they consume, is not just a noble goal, but turned out to be a wildly successful thing that people want.
So naturally, it had to go:
Now a Google search shows me a full page of promoted, local, and social results — I have to scroll down to see actual search results. Google decided to drop Reader altogether. YouTube inflates subscriber numbers during signups while choosing which videos will actually show up, with a malicious algorithm that includes both total time a user spends on the site (promoting videos that suck you into watching things you don’t really like but are easily distracted by) and revenue gained (this means that by not having ads on your videos you miss out on both the ad money and on having your stuff displayed to many of your own subscribers). You can still “subscribe,” but YouTube changed the definition of the word in the same way Facebook changed the definition of “friend.”
YouTube used to be designed to help you find what you were looking for. Now, it’s designed to keep you looking.
It’s all about the eyeballs, and tracking where those eyeballs fall.
I started typing “new gmail” into a Google box, and the sixth thing suggested was “new gmail sucks;” there’s even a “Gmail’s new look sucks” page on Facebook.
And eventually, I did find someone who argued that no, it does not suck. Not being a Gmail user, I really can’t say much here; but I tend to believe that any IMAP-based mail system sucks.
Still, when both Vi Hart and Violet Blue are using the same word — “trick” — to describe what was done to YouTube commenters, you may safely assume that the users are clearly Not Happy. I’ve been signing my Actual Name to YouTube stuff now for over a year, but you can’t judge a movement based on what I do.