Google has just rolled out a redesigned topbar for all users. Visit Google.com to see it:
Google is notorious for non-design, though clearly times are changing. Buttons are styled, drop shadows are added. More importantly, links are no longer underlined. For me, that’s the big one.
Certainly the web is transforming, and usability rules are transforming from “don’t style form elements” to “if you style a form elements, make sure they look like form elements”. Are we seeing a similar trend in hyperlink usability? Is the color blue at least sacred?