Google’s Experimental New Black Navigation Bar

A while ago, I spotted a black navigation bar in a Google page and wondered if it’s a bug or a new Google experiment. It turns out that it’s yet another experiment.

At least three readers of this blog saw the black navigation bar on Google’s homepage today.

YouTube also tests a black player, so the two experiments could be connected.

Update: A lot of people see the new design, so it’s hard to say if it’s a test or a gradual roll-out. If you clear Google’s cookies, do you still see the black bar?

{ Thanks, David, Francesc and Don. }

Google’s Black Navigation Bar

For some reason, the navigation bar displayed at the top of Google’s “connected accounts” page is special. The bar has a black background and grey links. Hopefully, this is just a bug and not a redesigned navigation bar.

The “connected accounts” page lets you add accounts from services like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Yelp and use them to personalize search results. This way, you can include your accounts from other social sites without adding them to your Google Profile.

{ Thanks, Herin. }

Google’s Navigation Bar Links to Your Google Profile

Google’s new navigation bar started to link to the profile pages. Click on your name at the top of a Google page and you’ll notice that you can quickly access your profile. If you don’t have a profile, Google includes a link to a page that lets you create an account.

Another change is that Google Profiles include a new tab for Picasa Web Albums, but it’s not enabled by default and it’s not available if you don’t link your Google Profile with Picasa Web. “Your profile and scrapbook photos already make it easier for people to get to know you, but we want to do more to help you showcase your favorite pics. By choosing to show the PicasaWeb tab, you will enable visitors to see your public albums. Private albums will remain visible to only the people you’ve shared them with directly.”

{ Thanks, Stefan. }

Google Tests a Navigation Bar Integrated with Google Profiles

Google has been testing different versions of a new navigation bar that removes link underlining and adds a menu for the features that now clutter the bar.

The latest iteration of Google’s experiment replaces your email address with your name and shows the photo from your Google Profile. Right now, creating a Google Profile is optional, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that this will change. If there’s one thing that unifies almost all Google services, that’s the navigation bar and it makes sense to add social features to the persistent bar.

{ Thanks, Aaron and Ameet. }

Google Navigation Bar Switch

Google made a small change to the navigation bar used for its non-search services: the link to Google Reader was moved to the “more” drop-down, while the link to Picasa Web Albums was brought back to the main bar. At some point, both links were included in the main bar.

Google’s Brian Rose said that the Picasa Web team is working on “some fun stuff” and we’ll hopefully see some important changes in the near future. Meanwhile, Google Reader’s team posted on Twitter that “the Reader link at the top of Gmail (and other sites) was accidentally removed. It’s coming back soon, we promise.”

It’s still surprising to see that Google’s navigation bar is not customizable and you can’t add your favorite Google services. Google tested a customizable bar back in 2006, but this feature was quickly abandoned.

{ Thanks, Karol and Kristian. }