Oddly for me, it's been the change in the "magic" algorithm that has had the most negative effect on my experience (besides the brain-dead bloated whitespace layout). I really enjoyed having a large number of feeds and letting google not just sort
them based on popularity, but provide an even mix between them. It seems the backend got a lot dumber in this case, which is very disappointing.
If anyone should be fired in all of this, it's who chose to manage the user communication. This could have been handled in a way that got people on board, instead google just said "We're sorry some of you aren't gonna like the change, the door is over there."
I hope the teams at google actually care about how users feel about their product. I've worked for several small startups and we take it very personally. I sincerely hope that someone is listening to user feedback and that there are plans to address the concerns/problems. I understand that the product is free, however, it's not like Google gets nothing out of it.
If Google does
decide that it's more trouble than it's worth, I see a real opportunity for some startup to make a killing (like pinboard.in
did after the rumors that Yahoo! was going to kill del.icio.us
made the press).
On the whole, I'm disappointed because I really thought Google didn't make mistakes like this. Gmail was a huge deal. It showed developers what was possible to do with the web. It opened up possibilities. It lead the way
This has done quite a bit to walk all of that back for me. I guess those guys moved on.