Google Groups Redesign Adds Tons of White Space, Could Become as Hated as Reader


If you hated the Google Reader redesign launched two weeks ago and the Gmail redesign the day after that, get ready for the Google Groups redesign that appears to be rolling out to select groups (like this one) although there's no official announcement yet.

While you'll now be able to navigate between all your groups from the left-hand nav [ "My Groups" ], the redesign places a considerable amount of space around a prominent search bar across the top and large buttons for marking all messages as read, refreshing the page, reporting the group and viewing messages in the compact or standard view.

Those design changes push Group content down, especially on small screens. If you do most of your work on a laptop like the MacBook Air, chances are you won't be happy using Groups.

Calling the new interface "unusable," Hacker News contributor ww520 writes in this HN thread, "The actual content are crammed on the lower right half of the screen. The bottom arrow of the scrollbar is missing. Please Google, not everyone has 24-inch vertical monitor."

Sash Catanzarite, chief product officer at InTheMo, posted a screen shot of a node.js discussion thread to Hacker News. That shot shows more white space, straight lines between posts and the ability to star individual comments. Photos appear next to the names of those with a Google+ account, which you can access by hovering over the person's name and clicking on "view full profile" [ see screen shots below. ]

We have asked Google to confirm that the Google Groups redesign is rolling out and will update with a response.

Sash is critical of the redesign. He tells LAUNCH via email, "It is a more modern look than the heavily dated old groups interface, but I'd echo critiques voiced widely about the gmail / reader redesigns: there is an over-reliance on icons unsupported by explanation, which while more visually appealing is not necessarily more intuitive or usable than the previous text-heavy interface."


Discussions can be shown as trees (as here) or flat.

This person has a Google+ account that is linked to his Google Groups posts. Click "view full profile" to go to his Google+ page.