As Google Tests Black Links, People See Red

Image: Google Headquarters in Washington DC
An employee walks through the lobby of Google's Washington D.C. headquarters on Jan. 8.Mark Wilson / Getty Images

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By Lucy Bayly

Is Google thinking about ditching its hallmark hyperlink hue?

It seems like hyperlinks have been blue for as long as the internet has been around. Mark Zuckerberg chose blue for Facebook because he is color blind and blue is the one color he can see in its full spectrum. Twitter is blue because, well, the tweeting birdie is supposed to be flying in the sky. But Google’s recent beta testing with black links suggests the search giant might be looking to greenlight a color change.

The new setup Google is playing with, and which users started to notice as of last weekend, ditches the blue completely: Previously visited links change from black to light grey, instead of from blue to purple. The Twitterverse was duly appalled, immediately spawning the hashtag #BringBacktheBlue.

“Bad Google. Bad Google,” tweeted one user. “You crazy,” wrote another. Others were baffled by the move, commenting that they found it difficult to review the history of links they had already clicked.

Google’s official comment on the topic hints that the company is making no commitment so far when it comes to switching to black links.

"We're always running many small-scale experiments with the design of the results page. We're not quite sure that black is the new blue," a Google spokesperson told NBC News.

Google famously tested 41 different blues before settling on the current color — which begs the question: If the black test is successful, will users be forced to suffer through 50 shades of grey before a final selection is made?