On Wednesday, former Google Reader product manager Brian Shih took to his personal blog to slam Monday's Google Reader revamp saying that Google has "crippled the product under the guise of improvements."
"Google released the previously announced set of changes around G+ integration and UI updates today, and boy is it a disaster," Shih opined on his blog (emphasis his).
Shih, who left Google in July, attacked the Reader update on several fronts. First, he disliked the reduced size of the article snippets in the reading pane, since he says the change completely disregards the main point of Google Reader. Shih wrote, "When you log into Reader, what the hell do you think your primary objective is? Did you answer 'stare at a giant header bar with no real estate saved for actual reading'?"
He also took the new layout to task, calling the lack of color "desolate" and saying that removing the border between the reading pane and the subscription panel makes the platform confusing to use.
Besides the visual elements, Shih criticized Google's attempts to integrate Reader with Google+. According to Shih, sharing has actually become more difficult thanks to the integration because more steps are required to share a story (3-4 clicks instead of 1). One of his biggest complaints about the integration was the fact that in order to share a story you have to click the +1 button. This means that every story you share, even those for private circles, will be displayed on your Google+ profile.
Shih wasn't the only one who disliked the lack of privacy in the new Reader's sharing features. Eric Zeman at Information Week ordered Google to bring back shared feeds, saying "Bring this feature back, immediately." Google is hoping that people will follow the people they used to share feeds with on Google+, but as Zeman points out these shared feeds were private whereas on Google+ these shares will be public.
Zeman and Shih weren't the only ones not feeling the new Reader. Users took to Twitter in droves to complain about the new UI, citing ugliness, a lack of article text, inability to share privately, and general sluggishness as their main complaints.
Although they were few and far between there were some holdouts in the field of detractors. Some said they were getting used to the changes, and some even offered such glowing praise as "kind of like."
Check out what Twitter users are saying about the new improved (?) Google Reader.