Last week Google started rolling out their new navigation toolbar on the main search page, Gmail and others. Not known for making anything visually appealing, this is a significant step for them. Filled with geeks and engineers, Google is notorious for making everything plain, simple and functional. They bet on advanced mathematics and numbers, not on winning people over with window dressing. Although sometimes refreshingly pure, a classy face-lift on many of their products would be welcome.
Google is starting to show that they understand this concept, just look at the Boutiques.com site they launched a while ago.
Although it’s no Victoria’s Secret, it does surprise people when I show it to them and tell them it’s a Google created site. Rich with images, a clean design and creative use of celebrity fashion profiles makes for a really attractive website. When I first saw this, I couldn’t believe the style-repelling, algorithm-wielding eggheads (sorry Googlers, it’s a clique you’ve probably all been fighting your whole life, that I’m sure is NOT true-you get unlimited online power- allow me my comforting false notions) created something so appealing.
Well, after that surprise, it looks like Google is drunk with crazy artistic zeal. Their next improvement, although far less sexy, is still easy on the eyes.
Let’s take a look at a few of the improvements.
1. The search homepage with an slightly slimmer and sleeker navigation bar.
2. A closer look reveals hover effects on the main menu.
3. When logged in, you’ll see this drop down allowing you to sign out.
4. A nice gear image reveals the Search Settings, iGoogle link, Account Settings, Privacy Options and Web History.
When you click on the Videos or Images link in the main menu, you are returned to the same old navigation (that is sooo 2010!), but overall, nice little improvements. Let’s hope this is a trend we continue to see out of Google, and more products are made easier to use and look at with a little design TLC.