Apple and Facebook recently implemented a darkening of their global search inputs until focused. Apple's default short input width - widening on focus is also interesting.
My first assumption is that their intention is to drive interaction with content and navigation - which can more easily be tweaked and adjusted based on analytics and usability testing rather than to the more flat algorithm generated search results.
What are the benefits/risks of this pattern?
- What other sites are implementing this pattern?
- What other patterns/interaction design principles influenced this technique?