Two great tastes that taste horrible together

Vi Hart gives the Google+/YouTube integration the denunciation it deserves:

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.

6 comments

  1. Dan T. »

    19 November 2013 · 7:03 am

    Newly founded Internet companies (with the geeks still in charge and no publicly-traded stock) will often concentrate on doing neat stuff that the users like. Later on, however, they’ll either be big and established and beholden to traditional corporate and Wall Street types, or in the process of failing and going under and desperate for revenue any way they can get it, and at that point their stuff will no longer be optimized for good user experience but for tricking the user into wasting unproductive time in the site so they can be monetized any way they can.

  2. Bill Peschel »

    19 November 2013 · 7:36 am

    I like Gmail,mainly because i have 300+ unanswered emails in my Thunderbird program and if I open it, it will suck all the Gmail out. Then I’ll have 400+ unanswered emails.

    Otherwise, I’ve ignored my Facebook because I have no idea what to do with it. Everytime I check in, I feel lost. When someone sent a message that I wanted to answer, I had to Google it to figure out how to replay. And never mind G+, I can’t begin to wrap my head around it.

    And I haven’t even heard about the YouTube Plus integration, but I haven’t lost anything by it, so it’s all good.

  3. Charles Pergiel »

    19 November 2013 · 7:46 am

    “Anonymous” can be a good thing, but I find most of the stuff put up by anonymous is dreck and not worth your time. I like gmail mostly. I don’t like the way they change stuff just to be changing things. I don’t comment on YouTube because I would have to switch to the new Picasa, and I found that change unpalatable.

    Is it possible to design a software program that will satisfy morons AND people with brains? I’m thinking not.

  4. fillyjonk »

    19 November 2013 · 8:04 am

    I think it’s a rule that as time goes on, things have to suck more. Every software package I’ve ever used….okay, maybe some of them (some of the GIS packages, some of the stats packages) started out pretty user-unfriendly, but then they progressed to a Golden Era where they did what you wanted with a minimum of fuss. And then on through a decadent era of feature bloat where for every bug that gets fixed in the previous version, two more crop up. And where there’s tons of “Look what I can do!” stuff that fills up memory but that no one ever uses.

    Also, Google seems to have abandoned its old “Don’t be evil” slogan, at least for some values of evil.

  5. canadienne »

    19 November 2013 · 4:12 pm

    Just curious what your objection to IMAP is.

    Also put me down as OK with the new Gmail. I was OK with the old Gmail too. “If you are not paying for it then you’re the product.”

  6. CGHill »

    19 November 2013 · 5:16 pm

    I think it’s just all these years of exposure to “OMG, I lost all my emails!” I’ll look at stuff via IMAP on the road, but once I get home, it’s downloading through POP3. (I have approximately 16 years’ worth of email in the current client: it’s that whole Document All The Things concept.)

RSS feed for comments on this post