Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Online change is inevitable. The problem is, of course, when a service's 'improvements' are viewed as just the opposite by some.
You may know that Google in their wisdom have changed their Google mail to a new format. To some, it may be great, but to us "old fogies," we are pissed off BIG TIME!! Why must Google change something that is NOT broke? Why also don't they give those of us who want to remain on the old format the option to do just that? Do you know why they may have changed? Do you also possibly know if there is a way I can revert back to their "old" format?? Your help would be GREATLY appreciated.
I'm afraid that you're not going to like my answer.
I actually get this question periodically about almost every major online email service. Google Mail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail all go through periodic major updates, and some set of existing users get quite upset.
In fact, it affects more than email services - just about any site online or even software that we use on our PCs goes through periodic change. When they take on a major update, it's going to upset some of its user base. It's a cost of doing business.
And that, really, is what it all comes down to.
That service you use is, first and foremost, a business in a highly competitive environment.
I'll get to why things change in a moment, but I want to address getting the old version back.
In most cases, no, system updates for online services are almost always one-way - there is no option to retain or revert to the old version. In the few cases where I've seen it, it's been only a temporary measure that eventually goes away.
"Why?" is actually pretty simple: maintaining the old version and the new version simultaneously is not only exceptionally costly, but it adds to the overall complexity of both and ultimately, it can make them both less reliable than simply focusing on one version moving forward.
Keeping two versions of the same thing running often just doesn't make sense for a variety of reasons that typically boil down to cost and stability.
So, no, once an online service changes like this there's typically no going back.
Google Mail is competing with Hotmail and Yahoo Mail and all three are competing with a variety of free and other email services available on the internet.
As a result, all of the services are continually reviewing new features and functionality in a constant effort to stay current, stay competitive, and stay one step ahead of the competition.
They have to change. It's a requirement for them to stay in business.
If they did not, if they simply picked a user interface and feature set and stuck with it forever, they eventually would lose their market as other systems continued to improve, bypassing them to become "better" with new features and functionality.
That's death for any business.
And make no mistake about it. That service that you use - even though it might be totally free to you - is a business. If it cannot sustain itself as a business, it will eventually go away.
And competition means that it must change to keep up.
One of the common arguments is that they didn't need to change something because it wasn't broken.
It may not be broken in your eyes, perhaps, but ...
The fact is that the system may be very broken for other people who use it differently than you do or broken with respect to new features, functionality, and services that this or other providers are implementing.
One of the things that has always amazed me is the incredible variety of differing ways that people will use the exact same software or service. Often, they're used in ways that the designers never would have predicted. And even if they had, the nuances of exactly how the service gets used by the masses often expose flaws or opportunities to make things easier that no one had even considered.
There may be things that perhaps you never run into, but others struggle with every day.
Things that the designers decide they must fix.
Because it's broken.
I'll admit that everything I've said above relating to "why" is conjecture and rationalization on my part. It makes sense to me, and I believe that it's at least conjecture in the right direction, but I could be wrong.
For all I know, perhaps there really is an evil plot to see who can annoy the most people. Seems an unlikely business model, but I know that many people feel that it's exactly what's happening.
The bottom line, though, is that it really doesn't matter why.
Change is coming, whether we like it or not.
It's a fundamental part of the growth of technology and society. Services like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and others are going to change every so often, for whatever reason. It's not going to stop.
So you and I are left with a choice.
We can expend a lot of energy to resist it, get annoyed with it, or complain about it.
We can gracefully accept it, either as a simple inevitability or even something even to look forward to.
As for me, I'll take the second option. (And I'm sorry, but I'm also of the opinion that statements of the form, "I'm too _______", for whatever might be placed in the blank really aren't valid excuses for the majority of people that hide behind them. Some, yes, of course, but for the vast majority it's just that: an excuse.)
I'm certainly not saying that I'll simply accept whatever the services feed me ... if I don't like what they've done to a sufficient degree, I have another option as well.
I can change services.
Don't like what Google Mail is doing? Switch to Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. Or start using a desktop email program to perhaps insulate you from the whims of Google's designers (exposing yourself to the whims of that other program's designers instead).
But it all involves one constant.
And changing where subsequent change may come from.
Change, like winter, is coming.