Friday, February 18, 2011

Google navigation bar

[Two versions of the new bar.]

I noticed Google’s new navigation bar in a Gmail account yesterday and spent ten minutes or so figuring out that it’s a feature, not a bug. Softpedia explains the change, which is as yet unannounced on the Official Gmail Blog and the Official Google Blog.

There are at least two problems with this bar. One is that it makes signing out of an account slightly tedious: it’s now necessary to open a drop-down menu (not shown above) to do so. A second problem — to me, the more important one — is aesthetic. While some Gmail themes show a bar that harmonizes with its surroundings, other themes and user-made color schemes now show a grey bar with blue text, looking like a page element from a crudely made website. “Hideous,” as one post to the Google Help Forum called it. And the thin blue line, which shows which Google service is in use, looks like a mistake, a little stretch of pixels gone wrong.

Softpedia says that the new bar may be a prelude to a “social networking ‘layer’” in Google. Yipes.

[Ain’t it awful?]

comments: 2

smripley said...

Any idea the method behind the coloring? My gmail navigation bar is black, which is dreadful.

Michael Leddy said...

The variations seem random to me: some themes have an appropriate looking bar; others don’t. It seems to vary by account too: with the Shiny theme, I get a dark bar like yours in one account, but a grey bar in another.