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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.

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  • 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
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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

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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.

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

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