Google Japan Gets Makeover

    March 19, 2008

Google Japan probably isn’t a site you visit on a daily basis.  You might want to make a special stop this once, though, because it’s undergone a mildly interesting change.

Google Japan Gets New Look
 Google Japan’s New Design

Google Japan has, in short, gained icons.  Small, cartoon-like images representing Gmail, YouTube, News, Maps, and Transit are visible on the homepage.  They’re in some cases identical to what Google Korea introduced last year, but for now, at least, they don’t mimic those symbols’ animated movements.

It’s a decided move away from the clean, text-only layout that the rest of the world’s Google users have gotten used to.  Philipp Lenssen, who deserves a hat tip here, wondered what implications this might have; one Googler recently stated, "Our fundamental strategy is to take ideas from Japan and apply them to other markets."

A handful of small pictures aren’t likely to have much of an impact on traffic, of course.  Also, a post on the Google Japan Blog asks for feedback, so it’s likely that Google won’t force this change on any country.

Still, for users of Google Japan, the icons will (at least temporarily) act as something different to look at, and they’ll possibly give everybody else a preview of things to come.