On Google’s New Homepage, Privacy Fades Away

Google has announced a new “feature” to its homepage: upon loading, only the Google logo, the search box and the search buttons are visible. The links to additional products, advanced search function, and the privacy policy, only fade in if the user moves the mouse. This video shows it in action.


Aesthetically, this isn’t without its charm, and we all know how anal Google can be regarding the minimalist design of its homepage.

But it took so much effort to get Google to finally add a mere 7-letter hyperlink to its privacy policy on the homepage, it pains me to see it disappear again….

UPDATE: It has been suggested to me that having the privacy policy link “fade-in” might actually draw more attention to it than it simply being visible from the onset. That’s a testable hypothesis that I hope one of my quantitative-leaning colleagues might tackle.

Yet, the fact remains that in Google.com’s natural state, the link is invisible. A user can visit the site, simply start typing search terms, and click return to view the results. Thereby, preserving Google’s minimalist aesthetics, and keeping the links tucked out of view. That might be cool web design, but it is poor privacy compliance.

Speaking of, I wonder what the State of California will think about this, since it was California’s law requiring a privacy policy be “conspicuously” placed on a website’s homepage that finally compelled Google to add the link in the first place. If a user has to interact with a page in order to make the link visible, is that sufficiently conspicuous?

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