Every once in a while, Google shakes up our world by changing the most basic feature of all its services: the Google menu bar. An experimental new menu bar design replaces the current black navigation strip with a dropdown icon menu similar to the Chrome OS app launcher.
This is not an entirely new design — the feature has been part of Chrome’s dev channel for Windows since February — but while it’s still not officially launched, Google Operating System has discovered a way for everyone to try out the new Google menu right now. The method requires a spot of cookie editing, an add-on installation, and works on Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
Full instructions for each browser are available in this blog post, but to sum it up simply, after downloading a cookie editor of some kind (or simply choosing “Edit site preferences” from the context menu if you’re using Opera), go to www.google.com and edit the NID cookie. When done, refresh the Google tab, and you should see the new menu on the right top corner.
This is not the first time an experimental Google menu has been available in this way. Over a year ago, a new Google Bar took over from the famous black navigation bar, and for a while was accessible to all via a similar cookie-editing trick. That Google Bar was eventually launched to everyone, only to disappear quietly again not long after, leaving us again with the black menu strip.
Will this new menu catch on where others have failed? We’ll have to wait and see. An obvious downside that’s already apparent is the low number of services that are actually accessible, sending us to a different page entirely for additional ones such as Translate, Alerts, etc. This might change in the final release of the menu.
In the meantime, give the new menu a try, and let us know what you think.