I agree. But, Gnome2 was better than windows because of its great support for virtual desktops. I would like to argue that windows is better than gnome3 because it has okay support for virtual desktops (virtuawin), a better overview of the applications running, windows tiling and cascading and a simpler way of switching between applications. That argument you said is bullshit, because Gnome Shell and Unity don't have some basic features I need. Gnome2 and Windows are awesome in their own way for this kinda work, and I would probably switch to Windows if the software I need ran fine on it.Linux isn't Windows and that just because you are used to something working in a certain way doesn't mean that it is the best way for that thing to work.
Cool for you. But for me, I sometimes have to work with 10 text files, 3 - 4 terminals, 10 - 20 tabs sometimes in separate browsers for easier grouping + 1 or 2 GUI softwares. Of course, I can do it in Unity, but it feels like a very bad headache.Finally, one of the Gnome team's statements was that removing a visible list of running applications removes distraction, makes users unnecessarily switch between apps less often and therefore increases productivity (or words to that effect). That sounded ludicrous until I got to the end of a large text document one day and realised I'd got it finished a lot quicker than I usually would have.
So to answer the original question, why have they removed panel switching? Because it really is better without (in my experience).
Oh just wanted to add, Gnome 2 gave the flexibility to tailor your environment for one text file and 20 txt file jobs. In unity/gnome3, they effectively say that you should work with only one text file, and "20 txt files is bad for you mmkay? dont do 20 txt files mmkay?" (+1 to you if you got the reference )
Note: Unity and Gnome shell are equivalent as far as I am concerned. They are dumbed-down desktops which deliberately lack features and tell you how you should do your work.