Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Google Drive: When Design takes precedence over Function

Google Drive has been around since April 2012 and it is a joy to use. It’s fast, it has a sleek interface that looks comfortably at home in a desktop and it’s fully feature packed with functionality. You can move, share, review, organize, collaborate, all in a simple and mostly intuitive way.

Too bad that’s all going away soon.

The new Drive for desktop (which you can try here) has a revamped design that is more in line with the material design that you see on the Docs page or on mobile. While the current one integrates well with the desktop and matches the design of apps like Gmail and Google Plus, the new one is a close match to Inbox and Keep, while somehow managing to be uglier and not work as well.

Lets use, for example, my workflow. I have four documents that I work on every day. They are collaborative writing pieces. Using Link Clump, I open all four at once and write my piece for the day. In the new Drive files aren't urls so Link Clump can’t catch them. This lowers my productivity right off the bat.

To know that these pieces have been updated, I rely on Drive’s bolding of items that have been modified by someone other than myself to give me the information I need at a glance. The new Drive doesn’t have this feature anymore. More time wasted.

I am not the only person complaining about how bad the new Drive is. You only have to visit the product forums to see tons of people complaining. +Google doesn’t seem to be listening.

The new Drive isn’t ready to go live. Google would do well to listen to the complaints people have and not be so eager to mess up a tool thousands of people use for productivity, especially if that change means taking away features that are essential to people’s workflows.