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New Google Home Page: Does it Remove or Add Distraction?

Google Launches Redesign of Home Page

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Google has launched its new homepage, which looks generally the same, but removes everything but the logo, search box, and two buttons until the user moves the mouse. Google says most people go to the Google home page to search, and they wanted to remove the other distractions, unless users specifically want to see them.

This is an interesting philosophy, because it certainly grabs your attention when you move the mouse and and a bunch of new stuff appears. Perhaps, the move is really designed to draw attention to Google’s other services.

"Since most users who are interested in clicking over to a different application generally do move the mouse when they arrive, the ‘fade in’ is an elegant solution that provides options to those who want them, but removes distractions for the user intent on searching," Google says.

New Google Home Page

Google has been testing similar designs for several months. The company explains:

All in all, we ran approximately 10 variants of the fade-in. Some of the experiments hindered the user experience: for example, the variants of the homepage that hid the search buttons until after the fade performed the worst in terms of user happiness metrics. Other variants of the experiment produced humorous outcomes when combined with our doodles — the barcode doodle combined with the fade was particularly ironic in its overstated minimalism . However, in the end, the variant of the homepage we are launching today was positive or neutral on all key metrics, except one: time to first action. At first, this worried us a bit: Google is all about getting you where you are going faster — how could we launch something that potentially slowed users down? Then, we realized: we want users to notice this change… and it does take time to notice something (though in this case, only milliseconds!). Our goal then became to understand whether or not over time the users began to use the homepage even more efficiently than the control group and, sure enough, that was the trend we observed.

Judging from conversation on Twitter, opinions of the new page are pretty evenly mixed. Some think it’s "snazzy," while others feel it’s distracting." Some don’t like that you have to move the mouse to know where specific links are.

As with any design change to a popular site, there are going to be critics and supporters. The Google home page affects a great deal of web users. What is your opinion of the new change? Share your thoughts.


Related Articles:

> Google Testing a Revamp of the Search Results Page

> Facebook Tests "Many" New Design Changes

> Microsoft Unveils Big Redesign of MSN

New Google Home Page: Does it Remove or Add Distraction?
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  • Guest

    The simplicity is great. However i guess i always tend to drag my mouse to text boxes where i am about to type, so this doesn’t do much for me as everything else always pops into view. I would like it much better if it went away if you didn’t move your mouse for a couple seconds.

  • Andy

    It seems the coders at Google have just discovered the ‘fade’ effect and have found somewhere to use it just for the sakes of it!

  • James Jones

    I hate the new page. How can I get the old one back?

    I use Google for News, Search, Groups, Maps, Translate – probably in that order.

    I LOVEd Google for their lack of gimmicks, no CPU sucking flashing lights, no unnecessary anything.

    Now we have what seems to me to be an unnecessary gimmick compounded by yet another unnecessary gimmick – the damn stuff I want to use fades gently in. I am trying to remember where the News menu item is so that I can hit it as soon as it becomes active without waiting for it to fade fully in. I call that a DISTRACTION.

    I just thought that the new page was REALLY, REALLY slow to load, it was only when I searched today for articles about it in the hope that loads of people had complained that I figured out that I had to twiddle the mouse to get it to work.

    Please stop taking the new medication and go back to whatever made Google the best web site on the planet and an example for *all* to follow.

    Please Remove Gimmicks^2.

  • DavidM

    I do not like the new Google home page.
    I think the main objective is to kind of narrow your options (clicking news, shopping, ect on the page and just search for it instead) which in turn will generate additional revenue. I think there research showed that if they did this, people would search for things a little more (which in turn means additional revenue for them).
    I search a lot and I like going to the news link a lot when I open my page. Now, I have to move the mouse and wait an extra second or two for the news link to come up.
    Additionally, what about the people (like my gf’s computer) who is kind of slow to begin with because of spyware and things like that, that slow down a computer? It can take 2-3 seconds for the news link to come up.
    I think this about discovering a way to make people search more. Selling out..

    Try MyGoBox.com – Search the web and Vote on the results..We decide..

    Dave

  • Rae

    I’m not a big fan of the new homepage just for the fact that I usually have to move my mouse on the home page anyway so everything pops up anyway. It’s like the 13 year old who just discovered animated gifs that move or sparkle and puts billions of them on her homepage because she thinks it’ll be cool.

    • Googleuser

      The new “fade in” feature sucks. It’s distracting, and serves no valuable purpose. I know it only takes a second to finish it’s “fade” effect, I’ve grown so close with the original layout that I could QUICKLY (within a half a second) find the link I want (image, gmail, news, etc) and get the mouse to it and click it quickly. Now, my eyes are all over the page while it’s “fading in”. It’s just like… WHY? WTF? it’s so stupid. To read the offical blog entry from google talking about how they’ve “experiemented” with new layouts over the past couple months.. SERIOUSLY? for WHAT? Are the google employees so full of themselves that they have to say things like, it brings focal point to the main feature of google… the search bar.. Come on, get over it, the only thing the new designs have done over the past couple months is piss people off and make them search for ways to turn it off or revert back to the original layout.

      • Guest

        I think you make a good point – Google employees seem to be starting to suffer from whatever degenerative disease the employees at Microsoft have been dying off from for the past decade or more. It’s making me sad, and I actually went to the Bing search engine today. Hey – if I’m being forced look at 37 pieces of flair ® before entering my first search statement of the day, I might as well have the chance to look at a pretty picture of a bridge, or a flower, or at least something interesting, while it’s happening.

        I do hope Google gets a grip, and soon.

  • Guest

    I’m currently running 100,000 google searches searches for

    “What is up with the links above the google logo fading in????? Takes forever on my netbook. (Which is brand new and uses Chrome, btw.) Very annoying, especially when I’m hitting google to go straight to news.”

    A pointless protest I am sure, but it’s not like an email to their webmaster is going to accomplish anything. If I was a better programmer I’d publish the code. If SETI can get 3 million people to enlist their computers to search for life on other planets, how many would be willing to enlist their computers to make google’s new homepage less annoying? (Or would at least be willing to let google know that they feel that way.)

    What’s next? “Google 2007″? Looking forward to that fade-in ribbon!

  • tuxracer

    Is there an option to turn this ‘feature’ off?

  • Guest

    Makes me curse my ISP and think it’s even slower than it is.

  • Guest

    its very gd

  • Guest

    dd

  • ExGoogleUser

    the faint fade homepage is awful and despite months of people complaining on their experiment feedback forum they did it anyway.

    Why not email one of the google clowns responsible for this disaster.

    jon@jonwiley.com

  • Guest

    The new page sucks, i want old google page back

  • Guest

    No need to drag the mouse, the text box is already focused, as it always has been.

  • TRoc

    I think it’s a conspiracy to boost their hits. I don’t know how many times I have had to refresh the page in order to click on google news.

  • guest

    they seem to have changed it again in the last 24 hours and it only fades in when you first open google.

  • Guest

    This post is what google use to be – fast and to the point.
    We want the old page back.
    Fire the person responsible for this insanity.