Usually, when I go to http://gmail.com, I get a login page. But sometimes, I get a page that tells me about Gmail’s features and invites me to sign up (with a smaller link to a login page).[1] I get both pages served to me in a "new" browser (viz, using Firefox's private-browsing mode without having logged in to Google in that session), in the same browser on the same machine as one another. What determines which page I get?

[1] I can't reproduce the latter at the moment. Therefore, I can't provide interestingly contrastive URLs/screenshots of both the pages — so I'm providing a URL/screenshot of neither.

  • What do you mean by "new browsers"? – slybloty Aug 22 '14 at 13:52
  • @slybloty, viz, using Firefox's private-browsing mode. New here refers to the fact that there are no cookies that might influence what page I'm served. – msh210 Aug 22 '14 at 21:50
  • Does it happen on the same device? Same user account? Same location? What is different when you get the 2 different pages? – slybloty Aug 23 '14 at 19:11
  • @slybloty, I've edited. Clearer now? – msh210 Aug 24 '14 at 3:48
  • Noticed the same a while back, but haven't seen the other "you should try our service" page in at least a month now – Eight Days of Malaise Aug 25 '14 at 0:40

Google likes to do experiments, so one thing that determines what do a user see when he goes to a Google URL depends on if Google is running an experiment on that URL.

Also, Google like to do campaigns, so if a user meet the conditions to be considered part of the current campaign audience he could be redirect to the campaing landing page like https://www.gmail.com/intl/en_us/mail/help/about.html


Which page will be loaded depends on a few things:

  • have you visited the page before?
  • have you visited the page before from this browser?
  • have you logged into your account before from this browser?
  • have you logged into your account before during this session?
  • have you signed into your Google account from this browser?
  • have you erased the cookies if you've been on that page before?
  • are you accessing the page from a different geographical location?

There could be a few more determining factors, but I can't think of any right now. I'll update the list if others come to mind later on.

  • Please see my comment on the question. – msh210 Aug 22 '14 at 21:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.