Google is testing a new color for its search results links, making results return as black instead of the iconic Google blue, and users give it a thumbs down.

"Bring back the blue" has been the public outcry since Google applied this temporary color change to its page. Users swiftly took to Twitter to express their dismay under #bringbacktheblue, demanding the popular search engine to stop tinkering with the color and switch back to blue.

"I don't know why all of the sudden my Google Search Results color changed to black. My eyes do hurt from this and I will consider using Firefox [and] Bing if there is no answer to this question," wrote user Bobby_Bill on Google product forums.

While other Twitter users question Google "why fix what's not broken," others complain that the "monochromatic links hide history, [and] make it hard to re-find stuff." #Bringbacktheblue blew up on social media.

Google has only applied the color change to its original blue link titles, but the body text and address links retain the same black and green color. After the social media backlash, it seems unlikely that Google will make this alteration permanent.

The layout of the Google search results has been tested many times in the past, and may be considered, as The Verge puts it, "one of the most user-tested websites in the history of internet."

In 2009, Google reportedly tested over 41 different shades of blue for its Gmail ads, as well as its search result links. The company has significantly benefitted from this experiment and earned a staggering $200 million a year in ad revenue.

"In the world of the hippo, you ask the chief designer or the marketing director to pick a blue and that's the solution. In the world of data you can run experiments to find the right answer," Google UK's managing director Dan Cobley explained.

Google is known to deploy A/B testing from time to time, offering users two different versions of the website and soliciting opinions based on users' feedback and selected options. According to Google, the company is "always testing" minor alterations to its search results page and discloses that it hasn't decided yet whether black is the new blue.

Google is not the only technology company that conducts A/B experiments on its users. Netflix has also admitted to carrying out the same test, offering users six different images for TV and movie titles. The online streaming service uses the image which garners the most number of clicks from users. Facebook has also taken advantage of the testing to solicit user feedback. The popular social media site has deployed "secret massive psychology experiments" on its users to gauge how people react to negative and positive messages seen on Facebook.

Photo: Robert Scoble | Flickr

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