rlange - 2:33 pm on Sep 23, 2011 (gmt 0)
Maybe it was done for the hearing, but I doubt it. Too obvious, even for G.
I wouldn't be surprised if these changes are a reaction to the hearings, but not in an "Oh @#%&! Hide the evidence!" kind of way.
That kind of reaction would indicate that Google is actually afraid of the hearings, but with the amount of exposure these aspects of Google's service get, a temporary change just for the hearings would be absolute suicide. (And for those who believe that Google is not afraid, then why make any changes at all in response to these hearings?)
Giving Google the benefit of the doubt, these changes, if they are actually a response to the hearings and not something they are testing regardless, would be more like saying, "Look. We don't think we're doing anything wrong, but the government is taking the accusations seriously enough to hold hearings. We'll take a couple steps back in the interest of appeasement."