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Google testing black links instead of blue ones, potentially changing the look of the world’s best known website

Published 10/05/2016

The relatively pedestrian look of Google’s search results pages is actually the product of hundreds of tiny tests
The relatively pedestrian look of Google’s search results pages is actually the product of hundreds of tiny tests

Google appears to be testing out a new change for its search results page, probably the best-known site on the internet.

The company appears to be trialling black rather than blue links for its search pages. Though the change might appear small, it is a relatively radical one for a page that has looked largely the same since it began and only changes by tiny increments.

Like other previous changes, the new link colour appears just to be in testing for now. Google will presumably use the test to see whether people are more likely to click on black rather than blue links.

Usually, people who search on Google see the page’s title in blue, which they can click on, alongside the URL in green and a description in black. But it’s that blue title that now appears to have changed colour.

The move has already received criticism from some users on Twitter who appear to be part of the experiment.

Small changes to Google's look tend to bring with them controversy – last year it changed its logo and upset some users, despite the fact that the new look had been hiding in plain sight. Before that, in 2014, it had made a tiny change to the logo that still managed to upset some of those that saw it.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Google has tried out subtle changes to the website. Around 2009, the company tested 41 different shades of blue links on its users – a test that earned $200 million in extra revenue when it found the right colour.

It isn’t clear exactly who the new link colour is rolling out to, and whether it is being targeted at specific users or particular search results.

Independent

Independent News Service

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