Would you prefer Google how it was five years ago, or do you like the current version better? What about Firefox 4? Do you like the changes that the Mozilla team has introduced? This are just two of the examples of companies that have introduced major changes to their products.
Lets take a closer look first. Google has redesigned their direct up to the point search engine. The major theme of those changes were additions to the search pages, be it a sidebar with additional search options, instant search results, instant previews, more advertisements and mashups with other Google services like image, news and video search.
The Mozilla team is about to change some fundamental Firefox designs, from moving the link hover information to the address bar to the tab management feature Panorama and tabs on top.
What do most of these changes have in common? The companies do not offer options to disable or undo them. In the case of Firefox, most of the changes can be undone with extensions. Some, like Panorama on the other hand cannot be disabled at all.
The same is true for Google's changes. Can you turn off Instant Previews? No you cannot, unless you install a third party solution or use one of the other workarounds. Can you remove the sidebar or the inclusion of mashups in the search results? No you cannot do that in the options, you once again need to rely on third party workarounds to do that.
Don't get me wrong. Every company has the right to modify their products the way they want. But some changes alienate part of their user base to the point were some of the disgruntled ones switch to other products.
Would it be that hard to offer options to disable new features? Why is there no option to disable Instant Previews or Panorama? Is it really that complicated to add that option to the application? And even if it would be, would not the benefits of offering users an option outweigh that?
Google and Mozilla are just two companies that seem to have lost some of their mojo in the last years.
What is your take on this? Let me know in the comments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.