I noticed Google is experimenting on me with green stars for ratings in the search results. Can anyone think of a good reason behind this?
Curious how many shades of green they are testing in this experiment.
50 shades of green.
It seems counter-intuitive. Leaving them orange/gold allows for easier scanning through the results.
Assumptions are often incorrect. Hence the testing.
True, and I think it's great they're at least trying the idea. I'm just thinking in terms of established paradigms and principles, i.e. don't fix what isn't broken.
A little update: It appears I'm late to the party and someone else already noticed this. They're testing a bunch of colors: grey, blue, green and red.
More to be found here: http://allgoogletesting.blogspot.nl/2014/08/google-tests-different-colors-for-stars.html
The gold/yellow stars tend to stand out a lot. Perhaps someone felt they stand out too much and green stars matching the green/blue of the rest of the listing would work better.
Green is often used to symbolise something being good or positive, e.g. a green tick vs. a red cross.
I think it looks weird though. Would be surprised if this ends up becoming the default.
Thinking about your point 2, do we know if green stars are also used when a rating is say one star? It'd be interesting if 4-5 stars were green and therefore a little less prominent against the text, and links with a rating of 1 were red. This could then make the low rated links stand out like errors in amongst the 'normal' green starred results.
Or maybe they're just all green because ratings aren't different enough from the rest of the content to warrant such a different colour?
I think point 1 is a sound theory. Like the green URL, the rating is non-clickable meta data. Maybe they're just thinking of simplifying the palette.
I'm going to hypothesize that the orange stars are too similar in color and placement to the yellow ad pill they show on advertisements. Users are possibly getting "banner blind" to similar colors/placements so they're experimenting with reformatting the meta info to not look like an ad.