Activism / Google

Gmail wasn’t broke . . .

. . . so why did you “fix” it, Google?

I’ve used gmail since the days when it was called Google Mail, and you needed a special invitation to join. Apart from a time when a brief but catastrophic lapse of attention on my part allowed my system to be hijacked, so I was locked out of my email, it has served me well over the years.

Two years ago, Google started messing with the gmail interface, but it was possible to change back to the more usable format temporarily.

But now, the change has been made permanent – and as a consequence gmail has become unusable.

No scrollbar in the new gmail UI.

No scrollbar in the new gmail UI.

Principle among the unwanted changes is the removal of scrollbars from the user interface (see above). So it is impossible to scroll down the list of received emails – essential, if you get as many each day as I do – but since there are no scrollbars inside received emails, they cannot be read past the bottom of the screen either.

Why do people do this? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! And gmail certainly didn’t need fixing.

Google isn’t the only offender in this regard. Microsoft’s removal of the START button from Windows 8 has probably held back acceptance of the new OS and the newer versions of MS Office lack some of the features long-tyime users have come to rely on (though third parties have stepped in quicjly to remedy these “fixes”).

MS have recently “upgraded” the long beloved Hotmail, which is now called Outlook.Org. Lo and behold, they have removed the button to refresh the inbox. I repeat:

Why do people do this?

As with Windows 8 and Word 2010+, there’s a third-party solution, which you can find here:

Unfortunately, this didn’t give me back the scrollbars. Nor does it revert to the older version of the “compose” window, which no longer displays buttons for links etc.

For the time being, I’m using the Mozilla Thunderbird email app to read my email, but that’s only a temporary expedient.

I want my gmail back, Google!

If anyone’s organising a petition to the GoogleNazis, asking – nay, DEMANDING that they give us back the old and better ways of doing things, they can put my name down.

Where do I sign?” as the old song used to have it.



2 thoughts on “Gmail wasn’t broke . . .

  1. A quick fix is to use gmail in HTML mode with this link: The disadvantage is that you can’t use rich text in composed messages. But if you can live with the new Compose system, it is easy to swap between HTML and standard settings to compose, and then back to HTML to read messages. The new Compose is unfriendly, and the formatting options are hard to access, but they are there if you dig. I have been unable to get the Stylish extension to work with Chrome, but I will try it for Firefox and report further.


  2. Just installed Stylish add-on to Firefox, and I’ve got scrollbars! There are no formatting icons in Compose. I may use Firefox to read and reply to email, Google to format new messages. Tedious workaround, but it will work.


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