When it comes to colors, there's a whole world of study which continues to look at the effects various colors have on our psychology. There are two schools of color when talking about psychology; warm and cool. Warm colors are represented by red, orange, and yellow. These colors invoke emotions such as warmth, comfort, but can stir up anger and hostility. Cool colors are blue, purple, and green. The colors on this spectrum provide a calm presence, but can cause sadness and indifference.
Looking through Google's search results, it's obvious what side of the spectrum they chose for their results. However, color psychology goes deeper than just warm and cool. Can brightness play a factor in how people react? Google seems to be testing this theory out, as noticed by a Blogoscoped user.
The problem with researching colors for design purposes, is everyone reacts to colors in different ways. Some people are drastically affected by color and brightness, while others are able to simply look past it. Looking at the image above, the lighter colors seem less attractive to me. However, there are some looking at it who perhaps see the increase in brightness as a positive.
It will be interesting to see if Google explains their testing, but considering it's such a subtle shift they might roll it out the door without much fanfare. Or perhaps they'll see a negative response, and decide to eventually keep the darker tones.
What are your thoughts on the color change. Does the brighter tones give a more positive feeling, or do you prefer the darker shade?