Posted October 6, 2009 7:03 am by with 4 comments

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google-logoGoogle is well known for many things to many people. Of course, search comes to mind. Then there’s e-mail and apps and on and on and on. Finally, there is the concern of world domination but that’s at least a year or two away so we can all breathe easier.

One design element that Google has been both famous and notorious for is its minimalist look, particularly on its home page. The simple search box and Google logo are as much a part of the Google brand and image than anything it actually does. Maybe that’s why it’s the most recognizable brand on the planet.

TechCrunch brings to our attention Google’s attempt to be even more minimalist if that’s possible.

We all know that Google is a big fan of minimalism, especially when it comes to its famous homepage, where it tries to keep its ‘word count‘ down to 28 words (actually, it looks like it might be up to around 30). Tonight, Google is apparently experimenting with taking that concept to a whole new level: the site is bucket testing a new effect that hides everything on the Google homepage aside from the search box and Google’s logo, only revealing the rest of the navigation elements with a nifty fade effect when you move your mouse.

Not surprisingly the homepage looks like you might imagine without anything but the essentials.

JPEG googlehome3

While this is far from earth shattering it is interesting in that Google even entertains the idea of taking things to the absolute bare minimum. I rarely, if ever, go to the homepage myself since toolbar access to the engine makes more sense to me but there are likely to be a lot of people who use the page to access the engine. I am amazed at how often I watch people actually type full URL’s in the search box to get to a site rather than in the browser itself.

So is there a need for Google to be any more minimal in its design than it already is? Does anyone really even care? The only time I even take notice of the Google logo anymore is if there is a special rendition to commemorate some event that Google deems important. Is this because Google is burned into my psyche or is it that I don’t really care about the logo, just the functionality? I’m so indifferent I’ll let you tell me which it is.

  • While we all love the minimalist approach of Google, I think at this stage they are probably overdoing it. Google is THE most popular search engine, as a result besides the pro users even the newbies use the engine alike. I think this new look is bound to puzzle a bunch of those first timers because they wont know what is the next step after filling in the search query. I think this is a compromise with usability.

    Google have had a somewhat similar experience before in one of the south east Asian countries ( I don’t remeber the name, probably Korea) where people were initially not using the engine because by its minimalist look compared to Yahoo ( that had the leading market share at that stage) they thought that the website is incomplete.
    .-= Saptarshi´s last blog ..Google Web Elements – An Easy Way to Integrate Google Products =-.

  • What exactly are they trying to achieve? Everyone comes to Google for search, and even if they are going to accidentally click on one of those links at the bottom, they are still going to go back and search…

    Besides, I am sure most users are going to think it is a problem with their internet connection that Google didn’t ‘load properly’..
    .-= Anand Srinivasan´s last blog ..Most Popular Ways To Discover Content =-.

  • They already got custom search feature, so everyone can make really minimalist start page with Google search.
    .-= Symbian´s last blog ..Where to find Ovi store app and games reviews =-.

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