Yes, More Are Seeing A New Google Look-And-Feel

Google Everything

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:

Google New Look

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:

Google Search Options

One new option is the Updates tab:

Google Update Options

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:

Search Options

After you do this, a series of options will appear to the left of your search results:

Search Options

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:

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:

Google's New Interface

Google's New Interface

Google's New Interface

Google's New Interface

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: General | Google: User Interface | 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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  • Darrin Ward

    I’ve had the chance to see the “Jazz” UI and have it working on my computer. I personally dislike the fact that the results aren’t flush to the left anymore.

    By having the results flush to the left, my eye instinctively knows where to go. I find that with the left bar my eye goes to the left and then has to readjust to the right. It’s just more more obstacle in the way. Maybe I will readjust with time, but I prefer the old design.

  • Sam Richter

    I too have seen and used the new Google interface and I’ve shown it to many, many people and to a person, they all highly dislike it. What shocks me is Google has a pure search monopoly right now (yes…I know the stats say 70% or so, however, I speak to and train thousands of business people per year and I believe it’s closer to 95% based on their feedback—at least in the business world). Why would Google mess with that? People are very fickle and if they don’t like the new interface, they’ll switch…and switch quickly.

    Microsoft spent millions trying to get people to switch to Bing. A few people did. A very few. Many who have tried Bing think it’s pretty good, but, we still use Google because it’s what we’re used to. I’ve heard lots of comments like “Bing’s pages just look too confusing.” But if Google changes “what we’re used to” and makes itself look more like Bing, Yahoo, and Ask, it will provide people a reason to do what they aren’t doing now, and that’s try another search engine and compare.

    Here’s my prediction. If Google goes forward with the interface switch, Bing’s market share will actually increase. And with the new Yahoo/Bing search going live someday soon, Google would be providing its greatest competition with the ammunition it needs to pull more users. People really don’t like change. So if Google itself changes, people will give something else a try to see if they like that change even better.

    I understand the need to continually improve. And Google certainly has and does. But what made Google successful is its interface simplicity. Keep the new features under “Show Options” or in the upper navigation. But keep the search and results page simple. Or…for those who have a Google account, just make the new interface an option that people can change under preferences. I think it could be a bad idea to just force the new interface on people.

    And another thought…

    From a business standpoint, the new interface may also be a bad idea. The more things you give people to click on the results page, the less likely they’re going to click on paid search links. I’m certain that Google is testing this, but my guess is the percentage of searchers who click on a paid search link declines with the new interface.

  • Technoverse

    My Google page was recently updated with the new look. I realized something was different when I noticed scrolling twitter results for one of my searches. Clearly, a few pf the UI changes reflect the fact that the timeliness of content can trump standard rankings. Twitter is now a significant source of real-time content ,and Google had to tap into it. I will still use my Tweetdeck , but the new Google interface means I won’t automatically switch to monitoring tweets.

  • 458793825432

    STOP SCREWING WITH THE GOOGLE LAYOUT. It’s only been a few MONTHS and you knuckleheads at google are ALREADY messing with the layout. Look Google, the new logo is ugly. The new sidebar on the left is hideous and I want it disabled. Come on people, GET WITH THE PROGRAM. Google, music hardly changed in Bach’s time for over 300 years. It worked for them and things were fine. Why do you knuckleheads at google feel you have to CHANGE everything every other month. It’s super annoying and ridiculous. STOP PISSING OFF YOUR USERS.

    Same thing goes with youtube, your subsidiary under Google. STOP MESSING WITH THE YOUTUBE LAYOUT. The new layout is ugly and people hate it.

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