Just about a month ago, Google announced that it was retiring the black navigation bar that's been sitting at the top of virtually all of the company's products for the last few months. The so-called "sand bar" was supposed to be replaced by the bigger and better "Google bar" with a drop-down menu hidden behind the Google menu and built-in Google+ sharing. At this point, though, it seems like Google still hasn't gotten around to rolling this feature out to most of its users.
Update (1/4 9:45am): Here is the official word from Google: "Since its launch, we rolled out the new Google bar to some users and are looking to broaden the rollout in the coming weeks." If the gray Google Bar hasn't been enabled for your account yet (which seems to be true for the majority of users, it's only a matter of weeks before you will get access.
Earlier this morning, I noticed a BBC story that talked about the Google bar as if it were some unannounced feature. According this story, which oddly enough also features interviews with a number of Google engineers, "the new look is only being offered to a limited number of users at the moment."
When it was announced, there was no indication that Google wouldn't roll this feature out immediately. Now, however, it looks like the roll-out either hit some snags, or that Google never intended to roll the new design out right away. For now, the only way to get access to the Google bar (unless you are one of the few chosen ones), is to use this hack.
Asking around my network, it seems some folks are seeing the new navigation menu now and then, but the majority of users doesn't seem to have access to it yet. I've asked Google for a comment and will update this post once I hear back.
If you are seeing the gray bar, let us know in the comments.