Google users have noticed that search results are showing as black instead of the normal blue.
The change is apparently part of testing to turn the search links black instead of blue. Body text and link addresses still appear as black and green respectively.
Obsessive attention to detail at Google
Google has a long history of testing every tiny part of its products. In the past the practice has earned the company some serious money. By testing different shades of blue for search results, the company apparently made an extra $200 million.
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Testing of 41 different shades of blue found that users preferred a certain shade. The company later spent months trialing blue navigation links before they eventually replaced red ones.
Such attention detail has been criticized in the past. Former top designer Doug Bowman left the company in 2009, saying: “It’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which performs better.
“I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such miniscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”
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A/B testing on users not uncommon in tech world
The company uses red links in China, but no other colors have been used before.
Netflix has also admitted to testing different images on users. It tests 6 different images for new titles before using the one that most people click on. Facebook has been criticized in the past for experiments which manipulate users’ emotions.
If you don’t want your search results to appear black, you can use a number of different fixes. Users on a Google Search Help Forum say that logging out and back in to their Google account turns off the black links.
One Reddit user also said that by turning off “Your searches and browsing activity” in Chrome’s settings will also turn your links blue again. The feature can be disabled from the Google home page by clicking on the grid in the top right corner and selecting “My Account.”
Now click on the “Personal info & privacy” box and select “activity controls”. Now you can toggle the “Your searches and browsing activity”bar.
Alternatively you can use Chrome extensions such as Stylist. The extension will restyle any web page, including Google.