Google tests black links in search results, and people freak out

Users complain it's harder to tell where they’ve been.

Google is considering a big visual shake-up for its search results that renders links in black instead of blue.

Google has been testing black search result links internationally since Friday or Saturday, according to TheSEMPost. Previously visited links appear in a lighter shade of gray, rather than the current purple.

It’s unclear whether Google will roll out black links to all users, but keep in mind the search giant routinely tests visual tweaks among a small percentage of its users. In a famous example, Google once experimented with 41 shades of blue to determine which one provoked the most clicks.

But unlike that subtler test, black links are easy to notice, and many test subjects aren’t happy with the change. A handful of Google help forums are now filled with grievances, and as the Telegraph reports, some users have taken to Twitter to express their frustration. (One complaint: It’s too hard to tell the difference between clicked and unclicked links.)

googleblack Google Product Forums

If Google doesn’t decide to make black links permanent, test subjects should have their links restored to blue and purple before long. In the meantime, some users report that logging out and back into their Google accounts, or resetting Chrome settings, may restore the old look.

Why this matters: Worldwide, Google serves more than 1 trillion search results per year, so even something as simple as a color change can provoke a loud response. The switch from blue to black links would be striking, but Google will likely back off if it doesn’t produce an uptick in clicks.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?