Google has tweaked its redesign of the Google News page after an outcry from users over the new format.
It didn't exactly reach iPhone 4-level proportions, but I have gotten more angry e-mail over Google's redesign of Google News than any other single design change the company has made in the last year. Users were angry about the loss of the two-column layout format and their inability to get rid of sections they had no interest in reading, and they let Google, the media, and each other know about it in e-mails, forum postings, comment threads, and Facebook messages.
In response, Google announced changes to the design late Thursday night. "The positive usage data we saw during our months-long tests of the redesign has continued since we introduced it to all users of the U.S. English edition, and hundreds of thousands of you have already customized your Google News home pages. But some of you wrote in to say you missed certain aspects of the previous design, such as the ability to see results grouped by section (U.S., Business, etc.) in two columns," wrote Chris Beckmann, a Google product manager, in a blog post.
The changes are slight: the "News for You" section can now be seen in a two-column format if the user wishes. Story clusters will be shown automatically instead of expanding and contracting when the mouse pointer hovers over the cluster. And Google said it's now easier to figure out how to switch between list view and section view.
Will it stem the outrage? We'll see. Early forum posters in the Google News forum didn't seem all that impressed, but there were only a half-dozen or so posts since the changes went live.