Seems that google is trying an experiment with their search page. Extreme focus is placed on the search box with google's logo as the only other thing on the screen for awhile, and then all the familiars come in after a second or two.
Here's a google forum discussing:
Personally, even though it may look good, I hate it. I don't want things coming and going on a page based off timing events. I actually go to google.com and access other parts of my google persona from the navigation that's there...i've never once been distracted by this navigation when trying to perform a search. please take it away!