But for the past week, I’ve been happily using a workaround—theoldgnews.com. Just go to that address and, presto, the old text-heavy look will return (above image).
The domain is registered in Panama and possible security risks exist. Still, my bet is that this site’s author is simply a well-intentioned soul fed up with the arrogance Google showed in inflicting the new atrocity on users. I’m super-grateful to him or her for reaching out to TeleRead.
Here’s a Reddit thread where our anonymous hero tells what’s going on:
“I own the website and there is no logging. It’s more like a http proxy, I get your request and I forward it and give it back to you. No cookies, no logging. All code will be on github soon. follow on twitter: https://twitter.com/theoldgnews
edit: Check for yourself, hit F12 and look at the first request. No cookies.”
That’s not the only way to revert to the old look. Another Google News victim says: “Just install the User-Agent Switcher for Chrome, go to Google News and switch the user agent string to Windows Phone 8.” With theoldgnews.com, I can’t get my usual customization with, for example, my favorite topics. But this other approach did offer customization. I installed User-Agent Switcher for Google Chrome, which can stay on temporarily or permanently, depending on your preference. The trade-off was that my Gmail was dumbed down to a Windows Phone 8 level. But perhaps there’s a way around that.
Why torture users, Google?
Still, why in the devil should I have to jump through all these hoops? I complained to Google PR about the change in Google News. Alas, no reply so far. I remain baffled why Google’s new version didn’t include a cookie-based toggle to let you switch back. Better, the text-heavy look should be the default for people with desktops. Must we all be dumbed down visually to the level of a cell phone with a three-inch screen?
How, just how, could the brainiacs at Google be so oblivious to user needs? Has a corporate saboteur infiltrated Google to sabotage News to the benefit of rivals?
We’re not just talking about the interface per se. With the new interface in use, I can retrieve only a screen’s worth of stories when I do a search for old Google News items based on keywords. Are you as angry as I am over this insult to our intelligence? Was Henry Ford really right in saying, “History is bunk”? Are our Web news tastes now as hopeless as our tastes in politicians?
At the very time when we need access to news stories from reputable publications to counter fake news, Google is making us more stupid with the one-screen limitations (at least as things display on my browser).
Yes, I knew: there are crap items on News. But at least the old arrangement gives us more of a choice, and you can use information-literacy basics to spot the dreck. Here is the CRAAP tool from the American Library Association. CRAAP stands for the criteria used: “currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.”
Dream on, but I’d love for Google’s news site and and all other search engines to include a permanent link to the CRAAP guidelines.
More at memeburn.
Update, September 2: The user agent won’t work anymore, and for now theoldgnews.com is down, but the site’s developer say it will be back.