Marissa Mayer

If you were new to the web, you wouldn’t be forgiven for thinking the homepage of Google is un-inviting, un-interesting and downright boring. Why have such a large company with all their billions never updated their homepage to make it more exciting?

Well to put it simply, it has been years of testing user experience. At the Google I/O Conference a couple of weeks ago, Marissa Mayer explained why:

“When Google was a relatively unknown 80-person start-up, the company tested Stanford students on how well they could use Google to find which country won the most gold medals in the 1994 Olympics. The result: students would sit in front of the Google screen for 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, a minute…”

When Marissa intervened and asked why they were waiting so long to perform a search, most people said “I’m waiting for the rest of it”. The students were clearly waiting for busier more flashy website and it was never coming.

So what did Google do to counteract this issue? No, they didn’t make it flashier, nor did they add a lot of extra content. No, it was something so simple, most people probably wouldn’t have thought about…

They put a copyright notice at the bottom of the page! Yes, that simple!

It’s not there for legal reasons,” Mayer said. “It’s there as punctuation. That’s it. (It tells the searcher) ‘Nothing else is coming; please start searching now.'”

That’s debatably the most innovative idea to come out of Google to date!

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