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Some questions for the employees behind Google Docs

Some questions for the employees behind Google Docs


Something something you ship your org chart.

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Illustration of the Google Docs logo on a blue background.
I have a lot of questions!
Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge
  • Why is the toolbar a different color?
  • Why is it oval when the buttons it features are square?
A screenshot of the Google Docs toolbar, annotated with “oval” and “square” on each element
I have helpfully labeled my concerns.
  • Are you aware that this is ugly?
  • Seriously, what is the logic behind the oval / rectangle divide?
  • Do you think it’s important for us to notice the toolbar?
  • You know it’s kind of distracting to make it a different color, right?
  • How many committee meetings went into that toolbar?
  • Is anyone working on a Chrome extension to make Google Docs look less hideous?
  • Are you evaluated for how many products you successfully ship, or are you evaluated on whether the products are good?
  • How many people made this toolbar decision?
  • Is this an act of aggression against your users?
  • Do you resent us?
  • Or, do you just figure we’re trapped here?
  • Have you been arguing with your boss about this and they just weren’t listening because there were KPIs to hit?
A screenshot of the Google Docs toolbar, with “oval” and “square” buttons helpfully highlighted
It’s not just the “bold” button, either!
  • If you’re adding colors, why not add them to the share settings so people can easily distinguish between “viewer,” “commenter,” and “editor?”
  • Why are the buttons there ovals?
A window with sharing options also features a bizarre mix of rectangles and ovals
I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
  • Is it just that you slapped this together as fast as you could in the hopes you’d get promoted to a hotter division, like AI or something?
  • If you like ovals so much, how come everything isn’t ovals?
  • I don’t mind the ovals. It’s just the oval / square thing makes me think of McMansion windows. Do you live in a McMansion?
  • What does your hottest in-house AI think about ovals?
  • Is it easier to see the problem if we go to Dark mode?
A screenshot of the Gdoc toolbar in dark mode, where the squares stand out even more against the oval toolbar
Look at all those squares and ovals!
  • My colleagues wanted to know this one: how dare you?
  • Is there a holy war between oval and square devotees and this was the compromise?
  • Seriously, you know this is enterprise software, right?
  • While we’re here, can you go find your Google Meet colleagues and ask them to differentiate the “raise hand” and “clap emoji” buttons more clearly?