Sunday, November 1, 2009

Introducing Google Blank!

Anybody else notice the weirdness with Google lately? How they're not showing anything except the logo and search bar until you actually move around the mouse and such.

I don't think there's a joke to it--I think they've taken their philosophy of minimalism and taken it to the next logical step. It's just a matter of time before Google's home page is nothing but a blank screen where you type and magic happens.

Oddly enough, that's more or less the way opening a new tab in Chrome works.

There may be nothing to "get", but that said, I still don't get it.



Evan said...

You know, you may just be getting experiencing a browser bug. In three browsers, two computers and two operating systems, I can't recreate what you're talking about.

Alternately: when you go to, do you get redirected anywhere? Does it remain a naked URL?

Kurt said...

It redirects to the "www", I've seen it on two computers, several browsers, and two different operating systems. Also, Jason was able to see it on his computer.

Evan said...

Well then...

Ben said...

It may be randomly occurring for specific IPs. Then they scour blogs and twitters to gather marketing data on who notices and mentions it.

Google is watching. They are always watching.

Daniel said...

It happens to me all the time at college too but only on internet explorer :S said...

It happens to me in Chrome... I just googled to see if it is happening to anyone else (I viewed source, and they are actually doing a "fadeIn" onmousemove).

Cool :) Save bandwidth if you're not a real person?

Jacob Ford said...

I've been getting this a few random times lately on a few different browsers and operating systems, including IE on XP, Firefox on XP and Ubuntu, and Chrome on XP. It's one of Google's many little experiments, some of which you are probably participating in without even noticing. See for more info from the Official Google Blog. They simply design these little tests and their servers randomly decide on certain visitors that will then see these changes during their session, and then they see how it changes people's activity and behavior on the site.

This specific experiment hides everything but the Google logo, the search box, and the two buttons. Everything smoothly fades back in as soon as you move the mouse. I imagine that they are trying to see whether people simply go right to Google and type in their search, or if they like to see/click on the links around it. I've also seen some variations to this experiment where it displays "This space intentionally left blank." below the search box. They are simply trying to see what happens, much like a 4th-grader might try little experiments in his desk to see what happens when you soak a rubber band in hand sanitizer overnight.

For those of you who are really curious about this, I have uploaded the source code of the blank Google page, as well as some screenshots to my server for your enjoyment:


Screenshot of blank Google:

Screenshot of text fading in (I blurred the username; it wasn't like that):

Hope that helps feed your curiosity! Feel free to ask me if you have any questions!

Kurt said...

Yeah, I think they've officially announced it as being just a normal part of the Google homepage now.

Still, 'twere trippy as hell when it first showed up.