Google’s New Navigational Links: An Illustrated Guide

After months of testing, Google is rolling out new ways to navigate within its search results and between different Google properties. Here’s an illustrated guide to the old and new.

Let’s start with the home page. How it currently looks, for someone who is logged in:

Old Google Navigation Links

See the links the red arrow is pointing at? Those vertical search links have been directly above the Google search box for years. Over the coming days, they will now jump to the top left-hand side of the page, as shown below:

New Google Navigation Links

In addition to linking to Web, Images, Video, News and Maps search, there’s also a new Gmail link. As for that "more" link, it opens a drop-down menu with these options:

New Google Navigation

That same set of links will appear on various Google properties you visit. Google calls this the "Google Navigation Bar," and it is meant to let you navigate primarily through various search properties, though applications like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs also show up.

Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, said me the navigation bar is also "property dependent" and will change depending on its "nearest neighbors." For example, the bar above knows you are on a search property, so search neighbors get listed. In contrast, consider this bar for when you are in Gmail:

New Google Navigation

See how Gmail is now the "selected" link on the far left, then you can jump to other applications such as Calendar, Docs and Photos?

Aside from navigational links, new "contextual navigation" links will appear for searches. Do a search, and if there are relevant results that show up from across various Google search properties, you’ll see links to these appear

New Google Navigation

Click on any of those the red arrow is pointing at, and you can then drill into specific listings from those vertical search engines.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: User Interface


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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  • M.K.Jackson

    So will people actually see the navigation links now? The universal is there to somewhat replace it, but I think google could do a better job of educating people about what’s available. Their service is even better than most of their users ever realize

  • zdavatz

    Nice nice-to-have-stuff for Google.

    The thing I do not like about the common search engines is, that they do not recognize documents with similar content. It happens often on the Web that a post or document is spread out over more then 50 websites. Now that is great for the author but not for the searcher because it blows up your search result unnecessarily. With InfoCodex this will not happen because the linguistical database recognizes similar documents and puts them into groups. This does not blow up your search result unnecessarily.

    Three things a modern Search engine should do:

    1. Automatically classify a document according to its content.
    2. Automatically generate an abstract of a document.
    3. Generate a Heat-Map of the Contents of a Search Result.

  • tagZar

    Interesting to see where they are going – thanks for the info!

  • abu shaeeb

    Yeah, quite good approach by google to make search a better experience…

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