We’re getting more and more reports from readers who are seeing a “new” Google look-and-feel for its search results. This is a three column design that Google’s actually been testing for some time. That testing appears to be accelerating.
NOTE: Google’s new look is now live. See: Meet The New Google & Its Colorful, Useful “Search Options” Column.
Google Tackles Its “UI Jazz” Problem, Tests Streamlining Search Options Feature is our story from last November that takes an in-depth look at the new user interface and the features it offers.
At the time, we wrote:
So who sees the changes? About 1% to 3% of Google users, who will be randomly selected. The test will probably run for about six weeks. If successful, expect to see the changes — altered to take in account test feedback — show up across Google soon after that.
That six week period has long come and passed — but the testing continues. Google tells me a variety of slight variations are live in the wild, still being shown to a randomly selected group of people. There is no expected launch date.
Thanks to my recent computer problems, I’ve ended up in the test group. I got a new Dell laptop two days ago. When I loaded it with Firefox and went to Google, I got the new UI. That means Google placed a cookie in Firefox to make it appear for me. My Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers on the laptop still show the “old” or “normal” look.
Below, a few screenshots showing what I currently see:
Above, I’ve highlighted two changes from the screenshots we displayed in our November article. One is that Google now shows your location. Another is that rather than using a + box to let you open options, Google’s testing a chevron approach.
Here’s a look when I open all the options:
One new option is the Updates tab:
That’s Google Real-Time Search, at least the updates portion of it. This didn’t exist when the new UI was first out for testing in November.
Again, our Google Tackles Its “UI Jazz” Problem, Tests Streamlining Search Options Feature article from November has a detailed tour of the new UI. Aside from what I’ve noted above, there’s very little difference between what I see now and what came out then.
Don’t see the new look yourself? Virtually all the features within it are already available now through the two column or two pane view. You just have to “open” the third column manually like this:
After you do this, a series of options will appear to the left of your search results:
See Up Close With Google Search Options for much more about this. Also see these articles more more about Google Real-Time Search and ways to make use of the Updates option:
- Google Launches Real Time Search Results
- How To Search Google Buzz
- Google Real Time Search Now Shows Updates From Facebook Fan Pages
Also, literally just added today to the options area is a new feature for local search refinement:
See our Google Adds “Nearby” Local Search To Options Panel post today for more about that.
Personally, I can’t wait for Google to roll out the new look. I find it a pain not to have these options available through the easy access the three column design offers. Bring it on, already.
Postscript by Barry Schwartz: Early April 2010, more and more searchers are seeing this new interface. Some have shared additional screen shots of what they are seeing. Here are images provided by Sara Holoubek: