Google Instant and Google Priority Inbox: One is a Winner, One Is Not

Google recently released new variations of two of their two key products. One stays true to their clean and simple approach to product design; it is a clear winner. The other kludgy and non-intuitive; I turned it off within a day (and have no plans to use it again).

Google Instant: Making Simplicity Even Simpler

Google Instant extends Google’s smart use of AJAX technology. It not only offers to automatically complete what you are typing into the search bar, it also shows you search results for the most likely topic that you are going to enter:

google-instant

Google Instant does not require you to learn anything new. It does not require you to do any additional work. It simply gives you results faster. For most, this is a clear winner.

While some argue that Google uses this to prioritise search results, Google allows you to turn off Instant Search if you do not like its “algorithmic guesses.” By offer this choice, it matches the needs of all customers—those who like Google-assisted search entry, and those who do not.

Google Priority Inbox: Google’s Star Made Non-Intuitive

Google’s Priority Inbox for Gmail enables users to prioritise emails from some people as higher priority than others, raising its attention for faster identification and action. While this sounds like a great idea; unfortunately, its execution is far-from great.

Priority Inbox adds much counter-intuitive complexity. It adds a new icon priority icon on your list of mail (it is on the right of the sender; while the other priority icon—the star—is on the right). It adds a new action on every mail message: add to or decrease its priority. It doubles the number of email queues you need to manage:

GOOGLE-PRIORITY-INBOX

It took me all of 24 hours of use to realise that Google Priority Inbox made my email experience harder to use and less enjoyable. Luckily Google enabled me to easily turn off Priority Inbox and return to my prior Gmail experience.