Less suck, more hot. We did a ton of usability testing of Base in the past few months, and this revised homepage came out of it. Goals were to make item types more visible, help users understand what base is, deemphasize search (to keep the focus on Base as place for uploading, not for searching) and help users make better choices about the right upload technology for them.
One of the things that I think makes this design work really well is the IA of the page. Users who come here are either brand new (never heard of Base), brand new but who have heard of Base (e.g. through a marketing email or similar), or are returning users who want to manage their items. I wanted to clearly draw users' attention to the first choice they have to make: how are they getting their stuff on to Base? This is a bit system-centric (how will a user know which technology to choose?) but it turned out in all the studies that we did that people did a good job of identifying the technology that would be suitable for their needs.
Everything that you need to do to get going is on the right: either sign in (for existing users) or click one of the giant iconed links to get started. The blue background draws further attention to the section and, along with the icons, helps balance the huge sea of blue links on the lefthand side of the page.
The left, in its turn, is the "learn more" part of the page. If you're not sure what Base is, you can focus mostly on the left -- browse a few item types, see which ones are popular and which ones are sort of randomly interesting, and get the couple lines of promo / marketing text. Some users really really want to investigate; some users want to jump right in and start playing around to figure it out. (I'm not sure if it has more to do with technology familiarity, age, or how much you need your stuff to show up on Google for your business to survive.)
There are still a few bugs, but those will get worked out soon. Official post on the Google Base blog.