Google Ditches Black Strap For Google Bar

You know how you've just got used to that Google+-inspired black menu bar across the top of your screen? Get ready to get used to something else. Google is in the process of rolling out a new interface, the Google Bar, which lets you switch between Google services (Gmail, Docs, Calendar and the like) from a drop-down menu.

You can see the new version in action in the video above; I'm weirdly reminded of the Windows 95 Start menu. As with many Google updates, this will get rolled out gradually; right now I'm still seeing the old interface on my system.

Like most changes, it will make some of us nervous, and it's clearly designed to encourage people to use Google+; all its key options remain visible, but getting to other services requires more work. That's not great if you're indifferent to Google+ (though it definitely has its uses), but I suspect Google won't be making it easy to switch back once it goes live.

The next stage in our redesign [Official Google Blog]


    >_< I was really liking the black bar and just being able to hit gmail etc.

    Although the black bar was almost like a browsers favourites bar.

    I hope this means they'll have more Chrome integration now though. As they've already got a msg notification plugin for g+ in Chrome

    *shrug* I have no use for Google+ as it is, and while I don't mind Google making the service more accessible it irks me that they're doing it by making access to the things I actually use harder.

      ... This has nothing to do with Google+ (and nor did the black bar for that matter).

        Don't agree. Changing the interface so that Google+ options are persistent and more prominent than anything else is hard to interpret otherwise.

        The black bar was totally designed for Google+. Look at the RHS side - all Google+ related - Notifications, share, profile, etc.

    They need to let people under 18 years old sign up for Google+ before they start imposing a more Google+ approach to everything. I wonder how many people have been denied based on age.

    Umm, ok. So they say that the old bar takes up precious space. Has anyone noticed that the new one actually takes up MORE space?

      Does it? I think they just put everything into the bar below it.

    Is any of this going to cause Google Reader to suck less? The latest redesign (with the black bar) took about 30-40% of the vertical pixels and gave them over to their terrible navigation/search interface.
    I switched to Chrome because I liked the omnibar and the way they went out of their way to conserve vertical space (for netbooks), I still use Google Reader (inertia is very powerful) but I curse it every day for the little tiny viewing slit it has left me with.

    Even more clicks to get to Google Reader?

    Exactly, den. If you could change the order of items on the drop down menu I wouldn't mind, but right now it's even slower than it was for Reader users.

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