TechCrunch reported yesterday that Google is testing a new home page that fades in. Seriously, it fades in, here is a video:
Personally, I don't get it - I don't see the value in this at all. I tried to email Google for a statement, but did not get a response yet. I did spot a thread by Googler Jaime hinting at this, at Google Web Search Help. He said:
Many of you may be familiar with Google experiments, you may even have been included in one in the past. We're constantly testing tweaks -- both large and small -- to various aspects of Web Search, from its look and feel to new features to "under-the-hood" adjustments we think may improve your Search experience. Well, beginning today we're running experiments with our homepage itself, and some of you may now be seeing (or will soon see) some changes to the design and behavior of Google.com.
Why would Google do this? How does this actually help the user?
Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.
Update: Here is a statement from Google on this:
At Google, we run anywhere from 50 to 200 experiments at any given time on Google sites all over the world. Right now, we are running a small experiment of a new Google homepage design that shows links when a user mouses over the screen. This is just a test and a way for us see whether our users will celebrate an even simpler search interface. More information about how Google runs experiments can be found here.