To be totally honest, I can't really say how many times Google changed the layout of its homepage in the past two years. And that is not even including the experiments the company ran regularly in that time on the front page.
When you open google.com right now you see a black horizontal bar at the top that is linking to various other Google services including Google+, Search, Images or Gmail.
The company is currently running yet another experiment that may very well end the black bar's reign on the page.
The new layout gets rid of the color black and the navigation bar for that matter. Instead, a single menu button is displayed on top next to the sign in button.
Currently, this looks like on the screenshot below.
To access the service list, you need to click on the button to pick one of the featured services from the menu. Not all services that Google provides you with are listed here prominently though, and you may need to click on the even more link in the menu to open the full list of available services. It looks like a 1:1 copy of the services listed in the black navigation bar right now.
This is not the first time the company has been testing a single button interface for navigational items. The new design looks similar to the Chrome App Launcher, even though the functionality offered is different. The app launcher displays the applications you have installed from the Chrome Web Store while Google's Search layout experiment displays fixed links to Google services only.
The new layout improves touch navigation on Google which is probably one of the core reasons why Google is trying to replace the black bar with a one button menu.
Google unfortunately does not seem intent to provide users with customization options concerning the service icons made available at this point in time.
As far as I'm concerned, I rarely ever use the links in the black navigation bar currently because it is usually faster to open the service I want to load directly using the browser's address bar.
It is not really clear right now if Google will go through with the design change, or if it will pull the one button experiment again as it did last year.
What is your take on this? Are you using the navigation bar on Google's homepage? (via)
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