Social Media, Online Design and Google’s New Appendage

There is a lot of buzz online about the new 3rd column that some people are seeing in their Google Search:

I’ve seen it off and on for a while but I’m also signed into a whole bunch of Google Labs experiments so I don’t think much about new stuff showing up on my Google Search results unless they get in my way or produce really bad results. I find it far more intuitive and more in-line with where social media is. The left column falls right in line with Facebook and pretty much every blog on the planet.

I am always frustrated by design changes by big online sites. We get use to everything and suddenly someone who thinks their smarter and a better designer than everyone on the planet changes everything because their board or need some job stability. In the case of the new G-Column, I have to retract my usual disdain for change. Not because of change, I still don’t agree with all the changes companies make because someone needs a job.

I completely agree with change when it improves, aligns and streamlines our lives…let me explain.

Besides Google’s clearly better search results, back in late 1998 all of my nerd friends and I were more impressed with the sheer design genius. NOTHING on the page but Google and a search bar. It was a game changer when we were all using Yahoo, MSN and even some low-tech AOL. Everyone was cramming as much as they could into a page and then throwing ads on top of it.

Since then our taste for online media has changed as has our maturity and taste for design. Sites that make game-changing shifts to improve the online experience help grow the internet just like major technology shifts. Sites that are cutting edge and aren’t strong at user interface (UI) must align with the sites that we do use often. Otherwise there is a learning curve that none of us like.

Streamlining is tough because you must improve existing technology and make it easier to use/better. Look at Facebook, they took a whole bunch of dis-associated technologies that had existed for several years and brought them together. They could have made it all a mess and tried to throw it all into one page but they didn’t…they streamlined it.

Although I sounds like an anti-change advocate at times, it’s really anti-bad-change that drives me nuts. I love newer, better, faster and smarter design and am the first to tell everyone about it.