Google got bored of real R&D and added fade-in effect to search

By andy

Notice anything different about the Google search front page today?

You should, because Google wants you to notice.

They’ve added some fancy fading in of everything but the search box and logo, so that header and footer menu items only appear if you move your mouse while on the home page.

Fancy, huh?

I know Google’s a pretty big company but I wonder how much R&D time was taken from other projects to sort this little gem out.

Is Google running out of ideas?

I love this section of today’s announcement, which sums up the numerous variations they tried out on test groups:

…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.

OK, it’s late and I’m thick, but I don’t really get it, Google.

Not only have you put a ton of code (relatively speaking) on the front page that probably doesn’t even work in IE6 (has anyone tested it? Do we care? Oh wait, Google hates Microsoft. Never mind.) but you’ve intentionally planned to slow down users.

It’s not as if you’re showing them ads.

You’ve been able to search straight away by typing into the box as soon as you arrive at Google, thanks to a small bit of JavaScript that focuses on the search box.

You still can.

Now, if you want “Advanced Search” or any of the other searches you usually find on the home page, you have to move your mouse first.

An interesting thing happens in Safari on the Mac. If you have the Tab key set up to run through menu items, the first time you press “Tab” you land on the “Google Search” button. You then have to tab through all the stuff at the bottom before you make it back up to the top left menu (Web – Images – Videos etc.)

No biggie you might think, but it seems as if some degree of accessibility has been lost, and for what I see as mainly aesthetic feature. It may not bother mouse users, but how about those who use the keyboard to navigate web pages?

I tried testing this in Firefox for Mac, but the fade-in effect doesn’t (yet) work at all.

Hey, this is Forever Geek, so you’d expect some thorough testing.

If you don’t think this is thorough enough, please help me out by testing it out on other OS X, Windows and Linux browsers. What happens?

Do you like the effect? I think it’s OK, and that’s about it. I don’t see (sigh) the need.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

or Comment Below

Gaming Trailers

More Like This
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: The Official Video Game - Olympics Celebration Trailer
Latest Trailers
The Chant | Story Trailer

Got a tip?

Let us know