Google sucks at Flex

Am I the only one who’s going to say this? Seems like the Flex blogosphere is drooling over the concept that Google would do something in Flex. But I haven’t heard anyone talk shit about the app. Maybe it’s because it’s 1:30am and I’ve had a few beers, but seriously now, this is what Google comes up with? It’s no wonder the title of the TechCrunch article says “But why is it in Flash?” No kidding, this is an awful Flex site. Comparing the Flex version with the HTML version, I gotta say I like the HTML version more. The HTML site is cleaner and just feels nicer to me (not that I’m a fan of that version either). The Flex version doesn’t add anything you couldn’t just as easily do in plain old HTML. And I happen to think it just simply looks bad. I get a bad taste in my mouth when I look at the app.

ZOMGZ! They have tabs for web, images, and video?! And they show those annoying snap previews for search results?! And getting to the actual page of a search result now takes two clicks instead of one?!?!

OK, I’ll stop badmouthing, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But come on guys, just because Google does something doesn’t make it the best thing ever. And I realize that from an Adobe standpoint being able to say “Hey, Google did something with Flex” is pretty big, but please, this isn’t the app you want them to make. I call BS.



16 thoughts on “Google sucks at Flex

  1. it’s not THAT bad. I do agree there should be more rationale in some of the “OMG GOOGLE USES FLEX” posts. But I think they’ve done a decent job. The interface is clean and very fast, which is something alot of flex apps are let down by.
    When I first read your post I thought that maybe Google’s use of Flex would do more harm to the platform than good, but after viewing it I think it’s a decent enough effort. True there’s nothing there that couldn’t be achieved with HTML/AJAX but perhaps the development process, cross-browser/platform compatability and finer detail are what merits the project being done in Flex?

    However, good post, nice to see some balance and thought about such hype (especially after a few beers – kudos ;))

  2. Steve Cox says:

    I have to agree with you. When I first saw it I assumed I was missing the ‘wow’ piece, the reason they decided to do it in flex in the first place. I can understand Adobe/Flex fanboys getting excited because google has obviously decided Flex is worth using, however if anything this gives those Flex doubters a reason to doubt. Flex for Flex sake is a bad bad move.

    I’m starting to get very bored of everyone drooling over anything google does. They, not unlike Microsoft are becoming increasingly less inspiring over the past year or so. Perhaps because we are now spoilt with the technology at our disposal.

  3. I totally agree Doug. I saw the RSS alert that said Google was using Flex and got excited. Then when I actually saw the site, I was very disappointed. With all of their resources, they certainly can do better that that. I worry that those who are comparing Flex to other technologies will use a site like that for comparisons simply because it is from Google. That may has well have been a Flex 1.0 app.

  4. Bill White says:

    I agree with you too, Doug. I was surprised that Google would come up with something so generic and uninspired.

  5. Tim Bauer says:

    Hi Doug (long time lurker)

    Perhaps we should send them some concepts to get thier next update ‘refined’. They could definitely be more immersive with the varioius subject types. For example, is it a better user experience to have a searchmash result vomit to a 2 panel FLEX … advanced datagrid on one side (grouped by content type) and your Desktop TileUI for the object represenation (stacks of materials to start)? Now that would be amusing. Click in the data grid … assocaited stack centers and flips to appropriate content slice … etc.

  6. I just interviewed at Google for a position as an ActionScript developer. Since they declined to move forward with an offer, it’s obvious that they don’t care about Flex, or they don’t know a good Flex developer when they see one. šŸ˜›

  7. Its ugly, but it works pretty well. I think Google takes pride in making all its stuff look as un-designed as possible – it’s programmer art run amok.

  8. I just love your honesty even if it was induced by a couple of beers. I agree with you Doug but we are in a whole different class as far as the vision we see for RIA and UI’s. Other people might catch up to you Doug but I seriously Doubt it.

    Dude, I am so trying to Juan (Scalenine) to convince you to come work with us on branddoozie with two crazy personalities like ours working together on the same project would be sick.



  9. IT IS UGLY!
    Doug, you are totally right! Sure, the app works but from a leading web-company i would await a bit more style, user-interaction and all that. FI had worked out a Google Search “app” long-before. Some Flex-Developers did it as well!

    It works but nothing more!


  10. Doug, It seems they rather making a quick prototype of application, not its release version. Maybe Google is just exploring alternative approaches, and while Flex is quick at prototyping, they use it.

    And I think as prototype it worth living.

    More, this is not Flex App by Google, but this is VERY-FIRST Flex App by Google.

  11. It seems the negative comments are mostly about the parsley not the meat. Google takes a minimalist approach to most of their design and other than praising the simplicity of Google look and feel, most designers wouldn’t rate Google properties as design gems.

    I liked the app thanks to the thumbnails, asynchronous feedback, and the fact that they had feedback. I enjoyed clicking No when asked about the usefulness of Wikipedia search results, I know about Wiki, I don’t need to see it in the top 3 search results for everything! But I digress.

  12. Have you seen what they did w/flex in google analytics? I’m not sure it’s much more functional than what they could have done in html, but they get charting for free and a cool map widget.

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