The Google Search Redesign: Hit or Miss?

Google don’t change their search pages very often — you need to be very careful when you’re serving eleventeen quinzillion page views every day. However, you may have noticed a few subtle and not-so-subtle changes which occurred this week.

Lighter Logo

Google has produced a lighter, brighter and simpler adaptation of their logo.

Google logo

I prefer the new version when you view both together. However, I’m not convinced it works quite as well at a smaller size on Google.com. The colors give it a more childlike feel, although I think it improves the look of the footer links:

Google footer links

Left-Hand Panel

The biggest change is Google’s new panel which appears on the results page:

Google results

Actually, it’s not particularly new — Google has been testing the design since 2006 and it’s been available (but hidden) for around a year. The panel is now a permanent fixture and it offers easy access to categories such as images, video, shopping, books, etc. Once you’re in a category, the lower set of links shows related tools, e.g. image size/color options, translation, a timeline of search activity and the “wonder wheel” for related searches…

Google wonder wheel

Is it Better?

Reviews have been mixed. My initial thoughts were that Google had created a fairly drab-looking version of Bing.com. The left-hand panel offers many options and, although it’s initially collapsed, it can feel a little overwhelming and disorientating. But could that be because I’m so used to Google’s simplistic results page?

If you hate the new design you can switch back to the old Google.com but make the most of it — the old system won’t be available much longer.

What do you think? Do the new features enhance or diminish Google search? Is Bing better? Please cast your vote on the SitePoint home page and leave your comments below.

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  • http://www.impressivewebs.com Louistar

    I think the new design is generally good, but I do like Bing’s better (not that I’ll be using Bing).
    One small but important additional change that you didn’t mention is the fact that there is a hover state now on the footer’s paginated links. In the old design it was somewhat of a mystery which of the letter “O” links you were clicking on, until you clicked.

  • WebKarnage

    The main problem these days with Google is the increase of the last few years of pointless results. The number of Google results that point to a site just doing another Google search for you (how much more pointless can a result get?) when searching for some things is shocking, sometimes more than 75% of the first page!

    That’s what Google needs to sort out before someone else does and can seriously beat their results in a real and useful way. Beating Google’s practicality used to seem impossible, but it’s not looking that way at all any more.

    with best regards,
    Karn.

    • http://www.jasonbatten.com NetNerd85

      I actually switched to bing, because the results are different. Not always right but neither are googles. If I wanted to see a catalogue of how many people have google ads on their sites I’d use google more these days but I got tired of looking at wordpress junk (the spam blogs, not real blogs) and other useless generated pages that just had google ads on them.

      It really has gone back to the old days of digging into a website to find all the links that they link to rather than searching on a search engine, it’s very annoying.

  • Gaurav Mishra

    i like the logo and google home page tweaks.

    the right side bar which gives a impression of copied bing user style.

    i am sure Google can do better tweaks for the left side bar for the search result page…

  • Christian Logan

    I didn’t like it at all. It’s a total miss! Google’s re-design seems like a bad copy of Yahoo to me.

    • http://www.jasonbatten.com NetNerd85

      I agree, not sure how you could have destoryed one page… but they did it, the buttons are awful. Really hate that javascript delay to get the rest of it. The ONLY reason I use google now is for the translator.

      • Cybrix

        It’s not a javascript delay. It will appears when the mouse moves on the page. It keeps the design clean until the users wants to change category or something.

  • http://www.broken-links.com/ stopsatgreen

    My major gripe is about the icons they use in the left column; they look like they’ve just grabbed them off a free clip art site. One of the world’s richest companies can’t afford to commission better icons than those?

  • AndrewCooper

    I personally love it! I prefer it a lot more to the old design too. It certainly hit the spot for me! ;) What you also didn’t mention that I thought you would was the new buttons that they have, rather than the default buttons for searching and I’m Feeling Lucky they have much nicer looking buttons :)

    I like everything about the new Google Search design and I do feel that the new feautures including the panel on the left hand side enhance the Google search experiece.

    Andrew Cooper

  • Andy

    Totally agree with WebKarnage. It’s also sad that every time you search for certain topics all you’ll find is spam sites that offer downloads, most of them filled with spyware, no legitimates, and warez.

    Let’s get that sorted please. Take for example: I want to find any information on almost any software and I’m NOT interested in downloading it. Most often the time the warez download beats the official software’s site in ranking. This CANNOT be something Google actually wants.

    Luckily I use mostly free software (Gentoo Linux 90% of the time).

  • VodkaFish

    Logo-only: much better. I’ve never been a fan of the logo, but without a major change, which I doubt they’ll do, it is an improvement, at any size.

  • Gorgec

    I added style to userChrome css in my Firefox to hide it completely.

  • passionforpuzzles

    What about the virtual keyboard at the end of the searchbox ?

  • http://www.mortier.ca/ Ryan Mortier

    Love it all.

  • http://galengidman.com/ fendeanson

    I say hit. The logo looks much better and I don’t know that everyone realized you could do an image, news, shopping, etc search. I think the new layout will help everyone realize that.

  • http://p163.sg angelee

    Ah yeah, I’ve noticed the changes in the pages too! But I like the older Google Logo, i just adore darker vivid shades.

  • darthdeus

    At first when I saw the sidebar I thought “what the f***” … but now I just love it. Wonder wheel is a wonderful way to waste a lot of time :)

  • Wolf_22

    Seen 1 reality show, you’ve seen them all… Same for search engines.

  • Matt

    Ctrl C + Ctrl V = Copy Paste of Bing Search. I am sorry but Google is turning into a sad excuse of a search engine. I may continue to use it, but I don’t have to many other choices.

    For the record, I am a google employee.

  • Adelante

    One thing I noticed on Google Australia’s page is the absence of the “search pages from web or pages from Australia” selectors. I thought at first that Google was providing just the local results but no the relsults are more like the general web.

    If this is intentional I feel it’s a big mistake as the localised results are much better in many circumstances.

    Is this the case in other countries?

    • Adelante

      Silly me, the selector is the LH collumn. I wonder how many people will miss it.

  • plim_plom

    The redesign is dire, it pointlessly takes up more real estate, distracts fromt the results and most annoying of all the radio button for pages from the UK has gone, so now you have to do a search first then click on the sidebar link to get pages from the UK, truly moronic.

    And all that is on top of the other stupid things Google has done over the last few years, the most irritating of which is to give me results when there realy are no results tat match the words I put in.

    I’m now off to try Bing and co.

  • JHig310336

    I like Google’s redesign, it’s modern fresh and lite though it sort of reminds me of Bing. I really prefer Bing’s design a LOT better, very attractive for a MS search engine. I do use Bing as much as I use Google but I wish Bing’s search results were close enough to Google’s.

  • luckytimili

    much better and I like its simpilicy.

  • ravi_k47

    it’ll get better, give some time. Google has done well with the new youtube. even though a logt of features were forgotten after the redesign was done. But now it looks like vanilla ice cream :D

  • http://www.rexibit.com/ Rexibit

    I like the whole concept, but it reminds me a lot of Yahoo’s search options and why people got turned off by it.

    I still get annoyed by the amount of extra “stuff” they keep chunking into the first page. You’d think if someone is looking for “relevant” information they’d not want to have to “skip” the first page and view the second.

  • Steve

    Ever since the redesign I’ve felt that Google’s search results haven’t been as good. I know that this is just an illusion, but it’s not a good thing. If I do a search and don’t get the result I want AND the resulting page isn’t the Google I’ve grown to feel comfortable with, then I might as well be staring at a fake search-results page on a Russian spam site.

  • http://www.mrnordstrom.com/ dnordstrom

    How can anyone like Bing more?
    Anyway. For power-searchers like me, having the options is very handy but it may certainly be off-putting to normal users since it can look complicated and even a little bit scary.
    All in all, very smooth and nice. Though I was very used to the old interface, it’s not a real reason to dislike the new one — I like it.

  • webseo

    I like Google new page. i use Google as my first priority as i am searching some thing.
    This is a nice blog for us, now i know about the Google main page.
    thanks to you for this informative blog.