iGoogle Update: Did Google Listen to the Complaints?

I’m happy to report that, following widespread criticism of its new iGoogle design, Google has returned some of the missing functionality to the service.

The switch, seen by most users starting Thursday evening, set off a wave of reaction around the Web. While some media outlets saw the iGoogle change as a great upgrade, others — us included — questioned whether the “upgrade” was really an upgrade at all.

Late Friday evening, though, one of our chief complaints was resolved, and the ability to see expanded story summaries within the widgets magically reappeared. When the new iGoogle first debuted, it limited you to either seeing only headlines or seeing full summaries of every story within every widget on the page. This struck me as a significant downgrade from the previously available option of being able to view headlines alone, then click on an adjacent “+” to see a short summary of any individual article. Seemingly, someone at Google suddenly agreed.

It’s hard to say whether the numerous comments left here and on other sites played any role in the reversal — one would imagine the folks at Google were at the very least aware of the outcry, which quickly made its way onto Google News — but regardless of the reason, I’m glad to see that the iGoogle team has come to its senses, at least somewhat. The wasted space with the left navigation bar is still a nuisance, and the impossible-to-disable full-page widget function hasn’t won me over. I’d much rather see options presented so users could choose whether to have these new configurations or not. (Hint: Here’s one unofficial way to reclaim some of that control.)

Still, the page is far from the cluttered mess that menaced me for the first 24 hours. Sure, I’d take the old iGoogle back in a heartbeat. But at least this is a step — and maybe, just maybe, it’s a sign that Google is listening…even if only a little.

Original story: Google, Please Give Me My Old Home Page Back

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