Google Testing New Homepage Design in Taiwan, Hong Kong

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Google Inc. is testing a new homepage design in Taiwan and Hong Kong that takes advantage of faster broadband speeds in those markets, one of the company's founders said Thursday.

"We're actually now experimenting with trying new kinds of homepages, for example in Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, that are a completely different type than we've tried before on our U.S. site as well as our European sites," Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google and the company's president of technology, speaking to investors during a conference call.

Google announced the new design for its South Korean Web site in May, during a keynote speech by Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt at the Seoul Digital Forum. The site's new design ditches Google's famously clean homepage design, adding a row of icons above the search bar and a row of animated icons below it.

In Hong Kong and Taiwan, Google is experimenting with a new design for its iGoogle personalized homepage service.

The default version of the iGoogle: Taiwan Home site has a search bar at the top of the screen. Below that, the screen is divided into five boxes with content, including four boxes that offer tabbed views: Google News, Google Trends, Personal Tools, and Frequently Used Tools. The fifth box includes a row of animated icons for Google services, such as Picasa and Blogger.

The iGoogle: Hong Kong Home site shares the same design as the Taiwanese version, but offers the option of having some English-language content.

The classic version of Google's main Web site is still available for its Hong Kong and Taiwan sites.

"We think [the new design] will be more appropriate for the local cultures, and their context, and their broadband connections, which, for example in Korea, are extraordinarily fast," Brin said, adding that response to the new site designs had been "quite positive."

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