November 8, 2012
Google Search Gets A Slightly Different Look
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Some users may have noticed something slightly different with their Google searches on Tuesday. The sidebar had been removed, the search tools had shifted to the top and the rest of the page looked much more...open. Google hadn´t mentioned these changes until yesterday, leaving some to engage in the circular activity of Googling Google. On Wednesday, the search giant made it official on their Inside Search blog: Google search has been streamlined to more closely resemble Google search on other platforms, such as smartphones and tablets.
“You´ll notice a new simpler, cleaner design on the search results page – we´ve been working on ways to create a consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today,” writes Jon Wiley, lead designer at Google search.
“We started with tablets last year, got it to mobile phones a few weeks ago, and are now rolling out to the desktop.”
Returned searches are now displayed in a much more open space, with plenty of “breathing room” as Google likes to call it.
Just as it was before, Google gives first rank to ads, shaded as they are in that beige/off-white tone. The actual search results follow, again with Google products such as YouTube and Google+ earning top priority.
The search tools which once made their home on the left side of the screen have moved up north to ride amongst the “Web,” “Images,” “Maps,” “Shopping,” and “News” selections. Selecting these tools drops down the familiar options, such as search times, verbatim search results and location-aware results.
As a test of the new layout, a search for Concord, North Carolina Folk Rock outfit The Avett Brothers brought up the usual results, with an ad to buy their latest album on iTunes earning top honors. A link to their Wikipedia and Myspace pages, and several links to YouTube videos featuring the band followed. For those just looking for the name of the non-Avett member, the quick profile on the right displays a quick synopsis of the band. Much of this information is pulled from Wikipedia, saving searchers a click. Several popular songs were then listed just beneath this quick profile, as well as a list of their upcoming shows. Finally, the discography of the band is laid out, as well as a list of bands similar to the Avett Brothers, such as Mumford & Sons or Langhorne Slim.
A search for Concord, North Carolina (or any other location, for that matter) brings up a handy Google map on the right side of the page, as well as another quick synopsis of city, including county seat and population. Another cool touch, this quick pop-out tab of info also displays how large the town is in square miles, as well as the current time and temperature.
This sidebar of info (better known as the Knowledge Graph) isn´t a completely new addition to Google search, but the new layout does cause it to pop out a bit more, as well as making it a quick and easy way to find just the right amount of information needed.
These new search results are only available in the US for the time being, but Google has said they want to roll these features out to other countries and in other languages soon. And, as you might expect, they´re soliciting feedback on their Google + page.