On July 8, 2008, Google announced the beginning of a testing period for a new version of iGoogle which alters some features, including replacing the tabs with left navigation, adding chat functionality, and a canvas-view gadget for RSS. Users were selected for this test and notified when they logged in by a link to a brief description and further links to forums. On the forums, it was explained that there was no opt-out, as a control for the test. Further, there was no information on how long the test would continue. Many expressed dissatisfaction with the new version and with the inability to opt out.
On October 16, 2008, Google announced the release of this new version of iGoogle and retired its older format. The release did not initially include the persistent chat widget. It does include the left navigation in place of tabs as well as a change to widget controls, however. The stated purpose is to prepare for OpenSocial, with the new canvas view stated as playing an important role in that. InformationWeek reported "a vocal group of users" as unhappy with the changes, pointing out that many users do not want change forced on them, and that this is a general problem with cloud software under a service provider's control.
A workaround to restore the original tab layout was found by attaching "?gl=all" to the end of the iGoogle URL. On June 4, 2009, this workaround was eliminated. Within days, another workaround was discovered. Changing the URL ending to "?hl=all" would again restore the original tab layout, with some missing links across the top of the home page, including "Maps" and "more". This workaround was again eliminated on November 18, 2009. This led to an immediate resurrection of the controversy over user choice, both in the UK and world-wide, as many people unhappy with the new layout imposed on US users had switched to the UK Google site where the workarounds still worked. Within hours, the most frequently asked question on the help forum was how to restore the old layout, and there was a large number of feature suggestions to the same effect on the Google product ideas page. Other solutions have come to the fore, which require adds-ons, greasemonkey scripts or bookmarklets.
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—David Hume (17111776)