Google has introduced a slew of changes to its iconic search engine front page and chose to discard any "superfluous" links, leaving the user with only the search box, two buttons and the Google logo.
Interestingly, Google has added a fade-in option that displays remaining links that were available in the previous iteration of the front page. The problem though is that the links only appear when the users hover their cursors on some empty space.
Google says on its blog that the homepage fades in when it first load but we failed to notice it (ed: you will need to do a hard refresh - ctrl + F5). The search giant also added that "over the past few months", they've experimented with 10 versions before choosing the right one.
Marissa Mayer, Kris Hom and Jon Wiley, commented on the launch on Google's blog that Google "want users to notice this change... and it does take time to notice something (though in this case, only milliseconds!)".
That said, the front page of Google currently stands at 27KB compared to 37KB for Microsoft's Bing (we saved both frontpages as MHT files earlier this morning). In addition, as Google acknowledged itself, the users are now taking slight longer to perform their searches.
Microsoft and Yahoo are finally giving some welcomed competition to Google. Bing is doing great while Yahoo is quietly adding more value to its own content. All in all, rivalry between the big three is set to continue unabated in 2010, for better or worse.