So, recent changes made by Google, apparently in an effort to piss me off:
1. Google Talk has been renamed and integrated to Google Hangouts. Fine. However, at the back end they randomly decided to break XMPP Federation, so if you used gTalk to chat with people on other servers, they will never appear online, and if you used another server to talk to people on gTalk, your messages will silently fail to be delivered. Good XMPP support was part of why I made a point of joining gChat, so I'm rather angry about this. See http://voidfox.com/blog/archives/2013/05/18/why_the_new_google_hangouts_screws_over_users/index.html
for more information.
2. They're rolling out a new UI. Apparently someone brilliant decided the UI needed to be more uniform across all interfaces, so they standardized on the width of a cellphone screen. If you have a wider screen, you get multiple columns of cellphone-width feed. With a hangouts bar on the right. They also seem to have decided the oft-hated Windows XP interface had it right with a UI that looked like a Duplo set, so lots of soft colors and soft corners.
Items still jump around your feed when people interact with them, so clearly the expectation is that you'll skim the feed like a newspaper for something interesting, rather than intentionally reading everything. You can force it to single-column, but you can't take advantage of your nice big display to see more on a line. Except when it occasionally decides a picture is really interesting and makes it take up the full width instead of shrinking it to fit in a column. [So far, its predictions suck too.]
As Linus Torvalds pointed out, they've also managed to make sure the font for this skinny display is maximally blurry on whatever desktop display you happen to be using. He observed it for Google Chrome, but I'm seeing the same in Firefox.
So, basically, skinny display, Duplo-effects, blurry font, confusing multi-column layout, items not in consistent chronological order. It's like they're trying to make this miserable.
3. Apparently they've improved the entry display so it automatically detects a URL and offers to make your post act as a link to a page, with a nice big version of the title of what you're sharing. Which is nice, I guess. It has a remove button for when you don't want that. If you click the remove button and then type anything
more into the window, it detects the URL again and the preview shows up again. So if you're writing a post like this, you have to stare at that preview while you write the entire post before you can get rid of it just before pressing the share button. Thanks, Google.