Google Reader debuted a new layout this week. I, for one, prefer the old way. Not because of looks, exactly, but because the new interface fundamentally changes the way Google Reader functions. In trying to shoe-horn the look of Gmail into Reader, Google has harmed one of their most-loved properties.

Here’s a video I made which describes my reactions and illustrates points where Google can improve their interface design.

download 1920×1200 hi-res .mov / watch on YouTube

I want to hear your thoughts on the new Google Reader, and for that matter, on Gmail’s new design. Do you agree that much more thought and effort went into Gmail? Do you use Reader and find it more difficult to use? Am I completely off my rocker and blowing things out of proportion?

If you ask me, this smells like another Tropicana, albeit on a much smaller scale. It’s not just about the type and graphics, it’s about the way it works and how people interact. This shit matters, people!

UPDATE: 20111105.0044

It seems my message is getting through, somewhat. Google has updated their Reader theme so that the links are now blue. I cannot tell you what a huge difference this makes. I already feel more productive and faster in my movements. Here’s a screenshot clip, but log into your own account to see what I mean.

Google Reader Update