Why Is Google’s Home Page So Basic And Simple?

By | October 24, 2012

Did you ever wonder why Google’s home page is so basic?  In fact, it initially was simpler yet and didn’t include a “submit” button to initiate the search!  To search, after adding text into the search box, the user would need to strike the enter key.  I was almost ready to call Ripley on that until I verified it.

Though some have attributed Google’s design to simplicity, Google’s layout, which has changed very little since the beginning, owes its plain white design attribute to Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his non-existent knowledge of HTML, the language for websites used to assemble text and other elements to create webpages.  That’s right, this guy could build a complex search engine from scratch however didn’t posses the technical ability to include a submit button.

It was unlike many websites of the the time that were flashy, colorful, contained movement  and asked you to click things.  People simply couldn’t figure out how to use the search engine because Google was too simple.  In a user study, Stanford University students asked to search for something on Google would sit for a minute or so staring at their screen, not quite sure what to click or how to search.  Yes, this is fact.

A professor would then ask them, ‘What are you waiting for?’. “They’d say, “We’re waiting for the rest of it to load”.  The blank homepage was so out of context and unusual, they were just waiting for the rest of it or for something to happen.

Google finally found a way to alert users that the page was ready and finished loading by a simple solution….. Placing a copyright notice at the bottom of the Google homepage that serves no other purpose than to signal the “all clear” and ready to search.

Today, Google’s website receives well over a billion unique viewers on a monthly basis and is the most valuable web property.  It gets so much traffic that its estimated if an ad were allowed to run on the Google home page, the cost of the ad would exceed $10 million “per day”.

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