Programming - - By Craig Buckler

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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