Yesterday, Google introduced some pretty huge changes to their homepage & search results. As usual, with any major change, there’s a lot of whingers and a lot of people who are pleased. I fall in to the latter category but then again i like change and freshening things up…
This seems to be the most controversial change. It’s the biggest change i can remember to google’s search results. We’re used to using google day in day out and whilst there have been slight tweaks and changes (e.g. introducing news & twitter feeds), google have now changed the layout we’re all used to.
We instinctively look to the left for search results but now we won’t find them. Instead we’ll be greeted by a navigation menu. So that’s a pretty huge decision taken by google and you can be sure it wasn’t taken lightly. Google don’t change things with their search results unless they believe it increases user experience or gives the user more valuable information, speeds things up etc… they tend not to mess around with their search result pages too much when it comes to design and layout.
So obviously google think the sidebar is a good idea, but do users? Well there are plenty who dislike it. However, i think it’s a smart move. I use advanced search quite a bit and many of the advanced search features are now available within the sidebar, meaning i have less pages to load to get to what i want.
Google obviously prides itself on search, so no doubt there’ll be many users who will only discover these advanced search tools now, simply because this is the first time they’ve seen them. That’s a good thing because it will help those people find the information they want. And find it quicker. Good for google, good for users.
It’s also not too often you see Google change their logo (permanently) but that’s exactly what they’ve done… They’ve ditched the gradient, ditched the trademark sign and made it more colourful. Good job. They said they wanted to make it more playful and fun and that’s exactly what it looks like… creche colours 🙂
The footer has been simplified much like the logo. More colour, less weight.
I first stumbled upon this new set up when i was in Dublin on my netbook on Sunday 11th April at around 5pm. I remember the exact time because i was bored, waiting on a bus. It was only on my netbook however which i thought was strange, but I passed no remarks. Obviously they were testing it out before a proper launch. So the new layout isn’t new to me however i remember instantly liking it the first time i seen it. It was more colourful, made searching for images and video easier and gave a more homely feel (i thought) to Google. Everything i needed was all in that sidebar…
No doubt plenty of you will love it and plenty of you will hate it. Of those that hate it, you probably just hate change. Just like Facebook, Microsoft Office 2007, Chrome… unfortunately for you, you don’t have any choice in the matter! 🙂 Google don’t often reverse decisions but if you can’t live with the new layout, there are some browser plugins that will come to your rescue and remove that sidebar…