I tried the Gnome 3 interface on a desktop, and it was pretty much a nightmare; I couldn't actually do anything useful, since Gedit immediately crashed, but I could mouse around in a typical workflow pattern.
I suppose the most characteristic example of the new, improved GUI was the volume control; it now takes up a 2x3 inch square on my screen, where the old one took 1.75x0.375, for the same functionality, and the new bar is horizontal, not vertical, giving no immediate affordance as to the direction of movement. And this is interface design?
You can't (or at least I couldn't) remove the lower toolbar, which I ditched long ago. You can't simply click between windows, keeping work on one, docs on another, and junk on a third. You can't even configure a theme, apparently, without resorting to the command line, which according to the developer is a wonderful new feature ...
A window full of icons is the only way to handle a smartphone or a netbook, but for a desktop machine it's all pain. Gnome are going to have to produce something for desktops at some point, or they'll just become irrelevant.
Gnome 2.32 will last me a while, despite its rough edges, but I really don't know where to turn after that dies of old age. It took five years or so for Gnome 2.x to be reasonably well documented and useful, and I can't see 3.x reaching that state any more quickly.
Pity, really - Will