Why does Google want a vertical scrollbar on search page when it’s not necessary

On Google’s search page there is a visible vertical scroll bar even when it is not necessary. This can be avoided by deleting the following style from body selector

overflow-y: scroll;

When this is done, there is no vertical scroll bar on default and when the height of browser window is not enough to display entire content, vertical scroll bar appears. Since Google is known for their obsession with minimalism on their search page, why aren’t they doing this?

I tested this behavior on Chromium 18 (ubuntu), Firefox 13 (ubuntu) and Internet Explorer 8 (winxp).

Answer

Joonas nailed it in the first comment. All except his concolusion: “Beats me”.

True, small horizontal the shift isn’t much, but google isn’t going to let your browser mess with it’s aesthetic. Not even a little. In fact, if play with your window size on their main page, you’ll find some layout shifting does happen, but only when they want it to, and the shifting is equally divided between the right and left margins so it is less noticeable.

Horizontal shift theory resources

http://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/force-vertical-scrollbar/

http://www.websitecamp.com/css-code-to-force-browser-to-always-show-vertical-scrollbar

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : refik , Answer Author : Julian

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