Sarah Perez, amongst countless others:
Former Google Reader Product Manager Brian Shih has posted a scathing, but fairly accurate, review of the update to Google Reader. The update, which removed Reader’s own social sharing features in favor of Google+, was unpopular among Google Reader’s most active users because it destroyed their niche community built up over the years. But in Shih’s opinion, that’s only one of its problems.
Just as bad is the new visual style, he says, referring to the stark, black-and-white user interface Google has been rolling out to all its products in recent weeks. Says Shih: “it’s as if whoever made the update did so without ever actually using the product to, you know, read something,”
Regular users of Google Reader will likely cheer upon reading Shih’s critique, which hits the nail right on the head:
The second and more obvious change, is that someone took the magic color-removing wand and drenched the whole page in grey. It’s so unbelievably stark, it’s hard to imagine a more desolate experience. Even G+ has blue links for post titles. Blue titles are good enough for Google search. Reader, which is built entirely around posts with titles, does away with this in the name of the almighty grey god.
Sadly, there don't seem to be many viable alternatives.