Google’s search experiment, where text links in search results are shown in black instead of the traditional blue, scares people, and for a good reason. Google seems to be getting tired of how links appear on the search results page as they change colour (which is already a lot of controversy). Google has changed the colour of links to appear black instead of the blue that everyone is used to. To test if changing your settings is effective, just do a quick Google search and see if the colour of your visited results has changed.
There are several ways to make links blue. You can always go back and turn it back on, maybe after Google gets rid of this backlink nonsense. Turn off web and app activity (on Android). This fix is provided by Reddit user oldish79, and your links should turn blue in no time. In order for all links to turn blue again, you need to clear your browser’s search history.
Some researchers have reported that when signing in and out of a Google account, the links turn blue again. When you click on a Google search result, the colour of the link changes from blue to purple, indicating that you have already visited that link.
The underline appears when you hover over a link, but if you scroll to a tabbed link, the underline does not appear. In this case, the links can be anywhere in the content of the page – they don’t benefit from being placed sequentially on the page the way Google links do. In this context, when users know that the page is full of links and the colours match and that Google is leading the web, users are more likely to not get confused about what to click/click/follow. The layout that Google has and has been using for years mitigates this as users quickly (re-)discover how links are organized on a page, regardless of colour or underlining.
Google skips the score because the blue hyperlink doesn’t have enough contrast with the rest of the text on the page. Blue links (underlined or not) have been around for so long that it has become a borderline dogma in web design. However, it’s safe to say that blue links have been the default link style on the web for over 20 years. While it’s fun to unravel the secrets of browser making, for now, we’ve come to terms with the gospel truth that links can and should be blue just because those early pioneers said they should be blue.
Since the advent of the public Internet, links, or more specifically hyperlinks, have been highlighted in blue and often underlined. Just last year, Google changed its links from red to blue, but in that time, researchers have gotten pretty used to blue links. There has been a long journey of visual elements used to represent hyperlinks, and blue is just one of many elements that have come to represent hyperlinks. So far, we have not been able to find the colour blue used for hyperlinks in any interface prior to 1987, but as colour monitors become more accessible with the interfaces begin to support colour, things are changing rapidly.
Culturally, we associate links with blue so much that in 2016, when Google changed its links to black, it was a real breakthrough. My theory is that Windows 3.1 was released just a few months before both projects started, and this interface was the first to use blue prominently as a highlight colour, paving the way for blue to be used as a hyperlink colour. Looking at the Mosaics release notes, we see that in version 0.7, black underlined text appears as the preferred way to pass hyperlinks, and we can infer that it was until something happened sometime in mid-April, shortly before. In version 0.13.
Google found that blue links generated more clicks than green ones, so the search giant opted for blue links. Blue links are now browser agnostic and are becoming a symbol of internet usage. After taking these screenshots, it’s clear that the original control version uses blue #1A0DAB as the link colour.
Of course, the new link colours are almost certainly tracking CTR. We can’t say for sure if the company is just testing the colour, or if the colour is related to the type of link being viewed, the type of user viewing the link, or what the user is looking for. If set incorrectly, colour-blind people may find it difficult to distinguish the colours of visited and unvisited web links.
In my case, yes, the colour of visited TechCrunch Wikipedia pages is now green (default is red). Because I’ve visited the TechCrunch Wikipedia page, it’s now light purple, while Facebook and YouTube are still blue. The Twitter and Google+ pages have already been visited, so they are also purple, but the Pinterest link is still blue. Show Source Texts
Google has red links in Google China, but so far, they have never used other colours for blue links in other regions. Gmail’s links use a slightly different shade of blue, #2A5DB0, compared to the main Google search page, which uses #2200CC. When asked for comment, Google said they always do a lot of small experiments with the design of the results page, adding that they’re not entirely sure that black is the new blue. Show Source Texts
Around 2009, Google tested 41 blue colors for Gmail ads and links in search results, which ultimately generated $200 million more in ad revenue per year for the company. A Google spokesperson said the change to the shade of blue used for sponsored links in Gmail and Google search had netted the company an additional $200 million a year. But the new insight shows that the company benefited significantly from the $200 million experiments. Google’s commitment to data-driven decisions is well known, and the company was ridiculed for an episode of “50 Shades of Blue” when Marissa Meyer, then Google’s CEO, led a project to test the impact of colour-coded links in ads.
Hiding them behind the similarly coloured text, as Google’s search experiment seems to do, may be a bridge too far for many. Google began showing these links as blue icons in the Google Answers window in November 2014, but only for queries leading to Google help documentation. If you encounter black links and want to go back like before, sign out of your Google account and then sign back in, this seems to help.