frank's blog

Is 23 the new 28 at Google?

Posted in web by aldorf on November 1, 2009

From AllThingsDigital

Larry and Sergey told me we could only add this to the homepage if we took a word away — keeping the “weight” of the homepage unchanged at 28. Given that the new Privacy link fit best with legal disclaimers on the page, I looked to the copyright line. There, we dropped the word “Google” (realizing it was implied, obviously) and added the new privacy link alongside it.

Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, Oct. 2008

Looks like Google (GOOG) is tweaking its homepage again. Surf over to the search sovereign’s front page today and, if you’re in a select “bucket” of users, you’ll find that the buttons for “Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky” have been swapped out for a bit of new text:
goog350

That text does fade out after a few moments. But nothing appears to replace it. I guess Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry page have decided to modify the no-more-than-28-words-on-the-homepage rule they set back in the early days of the company. Or perhaps 23 is the new 28.

UPDATE: Here’s the official word from Google: “At Google, we run anywhere from 50 to 200 experiments at any given time on Google sites around the world. Today, we’re testing several homepage design changes. This is just a test, and a way for us to gauge whether our users will like an even simpler search interface.”

You’ll find more information about how Google runs experiments here.

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