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Without realizing it, you are a guinea pig for Google’s (s goog) engineers. Gmail uses a slightly different shade of blue for its links — this one, #2A5DB0 — than the main Google search page, which uses #2200CC. Google’s engineers wondered if the difference in link color would alter the rate of clickthroughs — is there an ideal shade of blue that encourages people to click links?
To find out, Gmail’s users were randomly tested with 40 different link colors, ranging from blue-with-greenish to blue-with-blue-ish. Google discovered that blue-ish links encouraged more clicking than greenish — so the search giant stuck with blue-ish. It’s only natural for Google to want you to click more: The more links you hit, the more time you spend online, hopefully looking at Google’s ads. As for why people prefer bluer links? I suspect they’ve come to expect them to be blue. So, when confronted with a greener link, they are less likely to click it. That’s just my unscientific theory, though — what do you think? And which color would make you click more?