You may have noticed that our homepage is sporting a new look. Today we're excited to be releasing a new version of our classic homepage. The main feature of the new homepage is that it "fades in" — when the page first loads, it shows only our logo, the search box and the buttons. For the vast majority of people who come to the Google homepage, they are coming in order to search, and this clean, minimalist approach gives them just what they are looking for first and foremost. For those users who are interested in using a different application like Gmail, Google Image Search or our advertising programs, the additional links on the homepage only reveal themselves when the user moves the mouse. 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.
Left: Before the fade. Right: After the fade. Click the image for a closer view.
For the past few months, we've been experimenting with homepage designs like this and have run several live tests on the site. We do these live tests when we are making a change that we think may fundamentally affect how people use the site. Initially, some of the experiment findings had us concerned, but one thing we have learned through our tests is not to judge the outcome too quickly.
Internally, a large number of Google employees have been using the new homepage. They have come to really like it — it represents our focus on great search yet helps searchers efficiently access all of Google's products. Like the new supersized search box we launched several months ago, this change is one that is very noticeable at first, and then quickly becomes second nature. We hope you like it!