Google Testing Search Options Listed Above Results, Rather Than To Side

Google appears to be testing out a new navigational layout, one that takes the search options that normally show in the left-hand column of a search results page and moving them to above the search results. It seem similar to one that surfaced in June.

This is how things normally look:

The arrow points to how search options — the choice to select the type of search such as “web” or “shopping” — appear to the left of search results. Further down in this column is an option to select “More” search options or to make use of search tools such as limiting searches by date.

In the new layout, these all move above the search results:

Selecting the “More” link allows for narrowing your search to Google specialized search engines such as Blogs or Flights. Nothing listed is different than what’s available in the more traditional layout. Only the location has changed:

Selecting the Search Tools options brings up a pretty pleasing drop-down format. Here’s the date options, opened up:

Here are options for result types opened up:

These options are all available in the current traditional layout, but they feel easier to use as drop-down choices. Most interesting is the drop-down for location:

By default, the location that Google auto-detects for you will be shown (Newport Beach, in my case). But if you manually enter a location, that location will be shown above your actual location and used to filter your results. But your actual location remains up as a choice, for easy access.

Whether these changes will go live for everyone is anyone’s guess. Google is always testing new layouts (see some past ones in our Google: User Interfaces area), and some never appear. But as this one has been tested before, I have a feeling it might stick.

Postscript: As noted below in comments, Google has used a similar horizontal layout for its tablet display for some time. The format shown above is similar to that but not exactly the same, particularly in terms of the drop-downs. But it may be that Google is looking to unified its desktop and tablet displays.


Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: Analysis | Google: User Interface | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Abraham Williams

    Looks like Google is getting ready to have search work with the Google+ menu rebbon on the left.

  • Swede Chris

    Have see or recognize any influence of change of top 10 ranking positions with this update?

  • robthespy

    Side or top…just keep it consistent across all devices.

  • Rohit Agarwal

    This has been the default layout on tablets for a long time.

  • Mark Jobs

    I don’t like new layout

  • JamesS

    Now they will fill left column also with Advertisements.
    Greedy Google!

  • Juanra

    As it has been commented, google tested this new layout for tablets before

  • Justin Urich

    If you download the google search app on ipad, theyve already converted to this layout

  • Mike Frensham

    As usual Google in control but I must say that this may well help users..
    Im all for quality search results!
    I do hope as JamesS says in his post this left column will not be filled
    with adds though!!

  • Durant Imboden

    @Google: While you’re at it, make “Web” what it once was, and put Universal Search results under a new heading called “Everything” or something similar.

  • Blue-eyed Gal

    Somehow this doesn’t seem like the best move for the mobile web. i’ll be interested to see what shows up on my tablet.

  • Blue-eyed Gal

    Oh, great. Because vertical real estate is SOOOOO expansive on a tablet. (Or am I the only one with bad eyesight who can’t read text on pages in portrait mode?)

  • Alan

    My guess is that it will be ads. Based on Googles own heatmap data.

  • rmonitor

    Hmm maybe Matt Cutts discussion on Hackernews on percent of screen for organic search caught someone’s attention inside. He pointed out that the left column is all organic search which is a good amount of real estate.

  • Rekha Bisht

    I think it is a part of Google changes, but I will definitely say, it’s going to be helpful for all.

  • Joe Youngblood

    Goodbye Organic above the fold…

  • Deboti Chowdhury

    I saw this layout, but when I refreshed the page it was gone & back to the old look. I guess I wouldn’t mind the new layout.

  • SEO First

    I think it’s a fantastic move from Google. I Guess through this move we will see more users using the other search options, and it is something that Google wants users to do.

  • James Hobson

    looking at this through board room goggles I think that Google is dealing with some internal issues. This format seems to slightly sacrifice user experience to help with PPC advertising. Corporate demands for year-over-year revenue increases seem to be influencing the new layout.

  • robthespy

    A (multi billion dollar) public company’s #1 responsibility is to its shareholders.

    Don’t believe anyone who tells you googles motives are different.

  • Kerchak

    Loathe the “above results” layout.

  • Mike Cartmel

    Seems like they are still testing. It’s just appeared here in the UK

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