Google Homepages Get Altered In Asia

    July 25, 2007

Google’s homepage has stayed (pretty much) the same for a long time, and the smallest changes have generated scads of coverage.  Now, in some foreign markets, the search giant is testing major revisions.

According to the IDG News Service’s Sumner Lemon, Sergey Brin announced, “We’re actually now experimenting with trying new kinds of homepages, for example in Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, that are a completely different type than we’ve tried before on our U.S. site as well as our European sites.”

The mention of Korea comes as no surprise – WebProNews covered that change almost two months ago – but the other developments appear to be new.  Lemon outlined some of the alterations, writing, “The default version of the iGoogle: Taiwan Home site has a search bar at the top of the screen.  Below that, the screen is divided into five boxes with content, including four boxes that offer tabbed views: Google News, Google Trends, Personal Tools, and Frequently Used Tools.  The fifth box includes a row of animated icons for Google services, such as Picasa and Blogger.”

More of a visual person?  Ionut Alex Chitu has a screenshot of a Hong Kong version.  And below Chitu’s post, someone by the name of “Matt Cutts” dropped by to defend the less-than-streamlined approach.  “This home page (in my opinion) aligns more closely with what Asian users want and expect, so I don’t view this as eroding Google’s philosophy at all.  A page that might look clean to one country can look too sparse to another country, and it’s a good thing to look at what each country’s users want/expect.”

Fair enough.  And although Cutts notes that he is just stating his personal outlook, his comment means that is likely to remain unchanged.