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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- There seems to be an inflation in epic mistakes going on in the world of technology companies these days. Some infamous prominent examples include:
Netflix(NFLX) doubling its price out of the blue, changing its DVD-only business name to Qwikster, and then
killing the Qwikster idea a few weeks later.
HP(HPQ) buying Palm, then killing it; HP contemplating divesting PC business, then reversing.
Facebook's many "opt out" privacy snafus over the last two to three years.
Research In Motion(RIMM) launching PlayBook tablet without native PIM apps, such as email.
Google(GOOG - Get Report) launching Buzz more than a year ago, generating privacy nightmare.
The latest inexplicable way to reduce the consumer experience comes from Google. Recently, Google has refreshed the looks of many of its cloud services, such as Docs. The latest one to be refreshed is Reader, the RSS service that is so popular and easy to use for people. It enables you to quickly email an article to one or several friends if you should happen to see something interesting.
As with an email service, such as Gmail itself, a critical characteristic of a service where you are trying to quickly glance through a lot of information on the screen, is to be able to see as many rows of information as possible. As of this writing, I can see 29 rows of Gmails on my particular laptop. I used to be able to see a similar number of lines on Google Reader. But now I can only see 18 rows of Google Reader information -- a decline by more than one-third.
Google has, for seemingly no good reason, decided to introduce a bunch of white dead spaces between every line, taking away all reasonable efficiency in terms of being able to view as much information as possible on the screen. You feel like a stock trader that used to be able to look at 200 different stock quotes on the screen, but now suddenly only 128. Your productivity has now suffered a proportionate decline.
Imagine if the automotive industry suddenly decided to practice this new Google design philosophy on the minivan business. One day,
Toyota got together and said "We have a terrific utilitarian product with the minivan, but our engineers are bored.