As others have pointed out, the redesign was a bad move on Google's part. Seems that they want to cater to all the Myspace/Facebook crowd with terrible redesigns that kill efficiency. The old homepage was relatively slim, efficient, and a relative pleasure to use. Features that I would love to see axed would include the favorites/playlist bar at the bottom of the screen when viewing a video and any other bloat that they saw the need to add to make the overall experience sluggish.
Give us back our old homepage, Google. Just because your old CEO is leaving, now you push this change on your loyal users, talk about the short end of the stick.