Yesterday, on the 25th anniversary of the web, Google quietly rolled out a change that feels like a nail in the coffin of the early design of the internet. It removed underlines from its link results.
The change feels all at once small and epoch defining. The internet has been moving toward this aesthetic for ages now. I mean, we haven't had underlined links on our site in three years. Yesterday, Google Search designer Jon Wiley announced that the company was finally doing away with underlines itself, as well as increasing title size. He said that "this improves readability and creates an overall cleaner look."
In a way, it feels a little bit like seeing your favorite brand logo redesigned. It's also in step with the internet's general move toward clean, uncluttered design. It getting harder and harder these days to find websites that look like they were designed in 1996. Oh well, there's always the Space Jam website. And the Drudge Report.