Google Search Facelift

Google has supposedly released a major change in its signature application, Google Search.

The Official Google Blog:

Using Google today, you may have noticed that something feels slightly different — the look and feel of our search results have changed! Today’s metamorphosis responds to the increasing richness of the web and the increasing power of search — revealing search tools on the left and updating the visual look and feel throughout. While we are constantly rolling out small changes and updates, today’s changes showcase the latest evolutions in our search technology, making it easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for.

What’s new and what’s changed?
We’ve added contextually relevant, left-hand navigation to the page. This new side panel highlights the most relevant search tools and refinements for your query. Over the past three years, we’ve launched Universal Search, the Search Options panel and Google Squared, and it’s those three technologies that power the left-hand panel.

Universal Search helps you find the most relevant types of results for your search. The top section of the new left-hand panel builds on Universal Search by suggesting the most relevant genres of results for your query and letting you seamlessly switch to these different types of results. The “Everything” option remains our essential search experience with different types of results integrated into the main results, but now you can also easily switch to just the particular type of results you are looking for.

Our expandable Search Options panel launched last spring brought many rich slice-and-dice tools to search. The new left-hand navigation showcases these tools and enables you to get a different view of your results. Perhaps you’d like to see images from each of the results or just the newest information? These options are all on the left, and our technology will suggest the tools that are most relevant and helpful to your query.

Google Squared (available on Google Labs) helps you find and compare entities. Our “Something different” feature builds on the technology in Google Squared to find other entities that are related to your query, so you can easily explore not only the results for your current query but other related topics.

In addition to the left-hand side changes, we’ve updated our look and feel in terms of our color palette and our logo. These changes are slight, keeping our page minimalist and whimsical, but make our overall look more modern.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land:

After months of testing, Google is releasing a new look-and-feel for its search results today, a three column design that provides a permanent menu of search options and tools to help searchers refine their queries. Google also gains a freshly-updated logo along the way.

The new user interface — UI for the tech crowd — places search options into a column on the left-hand side of the search results page. Search results themselves appear in the middle, in a wider column. Ads appear in the right column, though some ads continue to appear in the middle column above editorial picks:

To me, the new look is colorful yet clean and not distracting. It should make it easier for searchers to drill-down further into their queries. Having personally tested it in the past, when I’ve been included in Google’s trial tests like many others picked randomly, I’m glad to see it finally go mainstream. It rolls out today worldwide in 26 languages. Google tells me that by the end of the day, everyone should see the new look.

Many of the options in the new left-hand search options column aren’t new. Google made many of these features available a year ago and then expanded them last October (see Up Close With Google Search Options). However, in order to find the options, you had to “open up” the search options column that by default was left off. Today’s change opens up the column permanently, which should cause many more people to make use of these.

Oddly, while I’m something of a power user (I’m online all day and conduct dozens of searches daily) I was unaware of these options.   The rollout hasn’t hit the DC area, apparently, as I’m seeing the old version.

via Google’s Matt Cutts

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    Oddly the new UI has borrowed heavily from Bing.

  2. Funnily enough, I’ve had the new UI for several weeks now. Thought it was a Labs setting (that I never got around to un-setting) rather than a new UI for everyone though.

  3. UlyssesUnbound says:

    Coincidentally the new google rollout came to my page as I was reading this article. I refreshed google on my other screen and kerblammo, there ti was.

  4. Brett says:

    I’ve had the new version of Google Search on my work computer since a couple of days ago, but it has yet to appear on my home computer. Strange.

  5. Steve says:

    I’m sorta jealous. I’m still seeing the old Google.