The new design keeps the position of the main search bar and associated links, then adds a line of quick access icons below that to some of Google’s other services. There is a tabbed menu, then 5 items shown under each tab.
The first tab can be translated as “recommended”, it includes Google Mail, Youtube, Google News, Google Maps, Google Transit.
The second tab can be translated as “all kinds of search”, and provides links to search interfaces for images, blogs, books and the desktop.
The third tab is “convenient tools” and includes Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Reader and Google Toolbar.
The final tab is “more fun” and has links to Youtube, Picasa, Blogger and Google Earth.
One thing to note about the treatment of all these links is that they are all referred to by what you can do or what they are rather than the product name. For example Picasa is referred to as a photo management tool and not by its name, “Picasa”.
The design change seems to be more in line with what Japanese users expect (generally a higher need to see more information on the page) and is a big move for Google moving away from their long standing simple home page. Its nice to see Google treating individual markets in a special way.