Going back to tab navigation in iGoogle

I’ve been recommending iGoogle for awhile — particular using iGoogle to display RSS feeds. It’s my default home page — showing AAUW headlines from a few sites, general news from a few sites, the weather here and at Mother’s, a clock, a couple of stock tickers, a few “fun” widgets, etc.

I’ve also set up a tab to access my Google docs –makes sense not to have that cluttering the main page since I think of it as a completely separate application.

A week or so ago, the tab navigation (at the top) changed to links on a left-hand sidebar. This apparently has something to do with Google’s earlier announcement of Open Social and their desire to reserve some screen real estate for updates like those that Facebook displays on your home page. But for me at the moment, the whole left-hand sidebar has just two links — a silly waste of space.

In the notice about the change, the unofficial Google blog says:

If you have the new version, but you prefer the previous interface, go to the settings page and select English (UK) from the list of languages. Please note that this is just a temporary fix.

Works for me, for now.

I guess the question is “When will the grand convergence come, and how will it fit on my 1400×1050 screen and my 1949-model brain?” For now, when I want to see updates from my contacts, I go to Facebook (not twitter, not friendfeed, not Google). When I want a quick overview of the world around me, I go to iGoogle (not Facebook).

When “real world” applications and “applications affecting contacts” start to run on the same platform, what will the UI look like to keep those different classes of applications both displayed in a way that makes sense?  Will my screen or my head explode first?

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