Google: Fade or Brain Fade?

Last week Google made another interesting small tweak to their home page.

When you first load the page all that is displayed is the logo, the text box and the two buttons:

In other words, nothing but the absolute necessary for the visitor who just wants to search.  The text box has the focus, so you can simply type away.  (I’ll leave the reader to consider where the “I’m feeling luckly” button fits in all of this minimalism).

If you move your mouse then all of the other links are revealed, with a subtle fade-in:

I can’t decide if this is clever or too clever.

What do you think?

Google Alphabet for NZ

Google Suggest

Here is a list of the top suggested term for each letter in the alphabet, from the Google NZ home page:

A: air new zealand
B: bebo
C: currency converter
D: dictionary
E: ebay
F: facebook
G: gmail
H: hotmail
I: ird
J: jetstar
K: kiwibank
L: lotto
M: miniclip
N: nz herald
O: online games
P: pacific blue
Q: qantas
R: runescape
S: stuff
T: trademe
U: university of auckland
V: vodafone
W: white pages
X: xtra
Y: youtube
Z: zm

Some observations:

Surprisingly, four airlines make the list.  But only one bank, Kiwibank, although all of the others were in the top few results.

Lots of online gaming sites make the list, including runescape and miniclip, as well as the generic “online games” – club penguin and mathletics also featured in the top results for their letters.

Some local sites beat out well known international competition – e.g. “ird” over “itunes”, “air nz” over “amazon” and “white pages” over “wikipedia”.

Apart from “currency converter” and “online games” all of the other terms are brand names which the person doing the search could have reached directly just by adding a “.com” or “.co.nz”. (see related: Where do I find Google?)

What do you make of this list? Any obvious omissions?

How many letters do you have to type into Google Suggest before your site shows up?

I’m in fourth place, behind Rowan Atkinson and his daughter.