Asked for comment on the wave of complaints about the new iGoogle, a Google spokeswoman said via e-mail on Monday that while Google didn't give prior warning to iGoogle users about the changes, it did put the new version through "a vigorous set of usability tests and experiments" with small groups of users.
Regarding the new left-hand navigation pane, Google realizes that it does take up screen space, especially on small monitors, but believes that its benefits are significant. "The left navigation allows users to go from canvas view to canvas view of the new gadgets with one click, which we think is important as we see more and more great canvas view gadgets that require a scalable navigation model," she said.
Google will continue to monitor feedback from users and make the adjustments it deems appropriate.
However, one thing Google isn't planning to do is give users the option to go back to the old design. "We want to build a homepage that is as useful for all users as possible, but that doesn't necessarily mean creating the most flexible homepage, or the largest number of options or features. We have to carefully assess the needs of our users and build a product that works best for all of them," she said.
iGoogle has tens of millions of users, she said.
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