If you search the Internet on a regular basis, you might have Google (http://www.google.com) set as one of your Favorites or as your browser’s home page.  You have undoubtedly gotten very used to the simple interface, the way the page loads very quickly because of the lack of graphic images, and the utilitarian aspect of simply performing a search.  (See http://www.msn.com or http://www.yahoo.com for opposite experiences.)

However, don’t think there is something wrong with your computer when you go to Google’s home page and only see the logo, the search box, and two buttons.  That is what Google has decided should appear – until you move your mouse.  This “fade-in” effect was first introduced as an experiment back in October 2009.  It was slowly rolled out as a test and was modified during some rather violent (and often virulent) feedback.  The earliest versions did not include the search buttons, which elicited no end of scathing retorts.  Now the test has been concluded and the change has been made permanent.  It appears to be the same in all web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari).

So, no, there is nothing wrong with your PC.  It doesn’t have a virus, you aren’t being affected by malware, and your broadband connection doesn’t have a problem.  It is none of those things.  It is simply the largest search engine on the planet giving you something you did not ask for, something most people do not want, something no one needs.

What do you think?  Let me know!