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July 24, 2007

Google Tests a New Homepage in Asia

PC World reports that Google tests new homepages in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Google sends the user to an iGoogle page preloaded with gadgets that highlight many Google tools, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google News, Google Translate. To include a lot of content in a limited space, Google used the compound gadget.

Google justified the move by saying it "takes advantage of faster broadband speeds in those markets", but the real reason might be that the simple Google homepage doesn't work well there. "We think [the new design] will be more appropriate for the local cultures, and their context, and their broadband connections, which, for example in Korea, are extraordinarily fast," said Sergey Brin.

It's not the first change that reflects Google's intention to gain more market share in countries where it's not the leader in search: China, Russia, Korea. Google expanded its local presence in China by building custom services, launched a Q&A service in Russia and a new homepage in Korea.

Will these small compromises erode Google's philosophy? Will we still see the classic Google homepage in 5 years?

Google's experimental homepage for Hong Kong


5 comments:

  1. This home page (in my opinion) aligns more closely with what Asian users want and expect, so I don't view this as eroding Google's philosophy at all. A page that might look clean to one country can look too sparse to another country, and it's a good thing to look at what each country's users want/expect.

    For example, in the U.S. people expect to click on search results and go directly to a page. In a country like Korea, users might want those clicks to open a new page. I think it's important to pay attention to each country's sensibilities rather than trying to impose our view of what the user interface should look like worldwide.

    (This is just my personal opinion, of course.)

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  2. In that discussion it's worth pointing out that these iGoogle homepages are *not* the default homepage. Clear your cookies and go to http://www.google.com.hk to reproduce (unless Google uses geolocation to show different results from Hong Kong). Same with Taiwain.

    And the normal Google.com also includes a link to iGoogle.

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  3. copied from yahoo design :)

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  4. @Anonymous: No, you're confusing Google with AOL... ;)

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  5. You must admit that the Yahoo homepage and this experimental iGoogle page look pretty similar.

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