A few weeks ago, google released a new google+ interface. I was kicking and screaming at first but I decided to hold my opinions to see if it grew on me. I wouldn’t say I’m active on the network, the only real reason I have for having the google+ page up is because my husband and a few other friends are no longer on messenger (since they forced people to use skype and most people are probably stuck in limbo in the transition or have moved on to facebook messaging). So naturally, I’m fine with the rest of the page, but that one feature that I actually use the most is what I am critical about. What annoys me is now with the new interface, I’m unable to see who of my friends are online or at least away at the moment. The old interface is still in gmail so I tend to now have my gmail page up for that. With the new "hangouts” there’s this list of people, not sure how they are sorted, and if they’re online there’s a (what looks like) 1 pixel high line. The screen shot below actually looks thinner than it actually is now.
When you open up the chat window, you see a slightly thicker version of the line. Sure, it looks neater, but I don’t think the designer had the user in mind when they designed this new interface. To me, it’s an example of where a good looking UI doesn’t necessarily mean a good UX.
The more I used the new interface, I figured out that the hangouts list shows me my most recent contacts, but then I still don’t know what the rest of the ones on the list are supposed to be. Certainly not by status, and not alphabetical.
Not sure about everyone else, but I liked having the default be to sort people by status/availability. I like seeing people on line and dropping them a quick hi/hello, especially those I haven’t spoken to in a while (so yeah, not my most recent contacts) If I wanted to do that with the new UI, I’d have to know who I’m looking for, type their name out so they appear on the list in order to see whether or not they are online or not. Sure you can argue that communication becomes more intentional than serendipitous, maybe that’s what google was going for with their social network, I don’t know. Is it just me? or are there not that many users of gTalk/hangouts to notice?
Update: so I noticed on gmail there is an option to “upgrade” to the new hangouts and they tout this not-sorted-by-availability contacts lists as a feature where you can now message people even when they are not online, cause they’ll get the message which ever device they’re on. Read more about their rationale here http://mashable.com/2013/05/16/google-hangouts-app-analysis/
But personally, the one that has achieved the goal of unifying communication is still the windows phone. It combines messages (facebook, messenger and sms), emails and calls into one view. Very helpful since I tend to send him SMSs, message him when I’m on facebook, the rare times he logs on to his windows machine and I see him via skype, I would ping him, you get the idea. I only which whatsapp and hangouts would come into this integrated view and I would be happy. But seeing how much MS and Goog can work together from this whole Youtube on Windows Windows Phone debacle, I won’t hold my breath. But then again, there’s gchat on outlook.com, could it possibly come to windows phone?
Going to try to blog at least once a day if i can. We’ll see how long i last.
Some newly discovered apps today
Papyrus seems to be a great app for sketchnoting. Its vector based and the UI is simple enough to switch between tools and colors quickly. It is alsk free with an option to uograde for cloud sync and additional tools. Will give it some time to test out before i splurge on updates.
Line Brush looks like a decent app for painting. Paint actually mixes quite nicely but havent really stressed the app yet.
Springpad looks like a potential clipboard replacement but havent really used it extensively just yet, will have to try out thee experience on the PC before i gice a verdict.
And a new sketchnotable to add to my sketchnotables list:
In between taking notes, i switched apps to browser and twitter. Much to my frustration, just when i had a full page of sketchnotes, after switching back from the browser i lost the entire page! There was no indication that the app crashed, all the content just vanished. I at first thought i had done something to delete everything so i created a new document to take notes for thd next session. I tried app switching and retained the content inthe beginning but again once my page had more sketches on it, the page cleared when i switched back from anothee app.
Quite frustrating, but im not so sure whethe its a sketchbook issue or an android one. Will continue testing but i think for now, i will stick to pen and paper for my more important notes.
I am patiently waiting for the Thinkpad helix to come out. At least with a windows machine, it should have true multitasking. Its a shame though, i really like the size of the note 8.0. Will continue to test it out with other sketch apps too and see if there are any better ones.
Update: was able to replicate and take a video. I also was able to replicate on my husband’s device. At first I was switching between chrome and sketchbook but For some reason, it happened only when I added twitter into the mix. I also tried with sketchbook for galaxy note but it didn’t seem to be exhibiting the same behavior.