Many observers feel that one of the biggest reasons for the success of Google's search is its clean interface, comprising mainly the Google logo, a search box and a few buttons - a far cry from the cluttered look of other search websites. However, the bare look of Google was not a deliberate design decision.
The fact was that the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, did not know HTML and so were forced to keep things simple! Of course, their decision has paid rich dividends since today, although Google has an array of programmers who could create a far more jazzy interface, its look remains as clean and uncluttered as ever. Which just goes to prove that, sometimes, ignorance can be a boon.
Mind you, even the ‘clean look' had its problems. During early tests, Page and Brin noted that testers kept staring at the page even after it had loaded. When they asked the testers why they were not using the service, the answer they got was: "We are waiting for the rest of the page to load." No one believed that a home page could be so plain and simple. Google tackled that by placing a Google copyright message at the bottom of the page to act as an end-of-page marker.