Back in 2000, Google found itself with a strange problem: People were visiting the site’s homepage, but they weren’t searching for anything.
The company couldn’t figure out why until it went to do a user study at a nearby college, Google HR boss Laszlo Bock writes in his new book, “Work Rules!”
The reason researchers found was both surprising and funny.
Users were so accustomed to sites that “flashed, revolved, and asked you to punch the monkey,” that they kept waiting for the page to finish loading, Google employee Marissa Mayer said at the time.
That’s why they weren’t searching for anything: Google’s site was so unorthodox at the time, that users got fed up while they thought they were waiting for Google.com to fully load.
“We wound up sticking a copyright tag at the bottom of the page, not so much because we needed a copyright on the page, but because it was a way to say ‘This is the end,'” Jen Fitzpatrick, engineering VP, told Bock. Apparently, that fixed the problem and Google took pride in the fact that it never added ads or other distractions.
See the difference for yourself.
Here’s Lycos in 2000:
And now here’s Google:
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