Disrupting Google’s homepage with a 14-charater string

Much of Google’s resistance to adding a link to its privacy policy on its homepage seems to boil down to little more than aesthetics. As Steve Langdon, a Google spokesman, puts it: “We do believe that having very limited text on our home page.”

Certainly, Google’s simple homepage design has its value. Much of Google’s early success can be attributed to the speed at which its homepage loaded, especially with early Internet users relying on dial-up connections. Compared to Yahoo’s homepage that was loaded with images and display ads, Google’s spartan page loaded so fast that some users would mistakenly sit in front of the screen waiting for more items to load.

A brief history of Google’s homepage reveals their commitment to limiting the amount of content displayed.

But, of course, the current battle over the visibility of Google’s privacy policy isn’t about load time. No one is asking Google to add a banner ad for the Privacy Center, embed one of its YouTube privacy videos, or anything else that would slow down the loading of the page.

This is about adding a simple 14-character hyperlink: Privacy Policy.

From this: Google homepage

To this: Google homepage with privacy link

I struggle to understand why Google remains so obstinate on this issue.

Note that EPIC and a coalition of a dozen privacy organizations have urged Google to include a link from its homepage to its privacy policy. More details here.

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