There were two Google navigation changes that people have started to notice. The first was making the Google search left hand bar more compact and the second was changing the menu choices in the top menu while in Gmail.
Google Operating System reported the more compact version of the Google web search side bar. Google has merged several groups into a single group, to save space. The two groups remaining are time bound groups and search filter groups, what was removed were the views group and results group. Google also dropped the “related searches” option from the side bar. For screen shots, see the Google Operating System post.
TechCrunch reported Google dropped the “Google Reader” link from the top of the Gmail navigation menu. It was replaced with “Photos,” which takes you to Google’s Picasa. Robin Wauters said this is “more proof that RSS is on its way out.” I am not sure about that, but there are some Gmail and Google Reader users not happy with the change.
Postscript: Late this afternoon, the Google Reader Twitter account posted that the moved Google Reader link was an accident:
The Reader link at the top of Gmail (and other sites) was accidentally removed. It’s coming back soon, we promise. Don’t panic.