Recently, some users have noticed a redesigned interface for Google’s search results page. While users have become used to Google putting its navigation tools on the right-hand side of the screen, some users are seeing a navigation bar moved to a horizontal bar underneath the search text box and above the search results. Drop-down menus allow for a more condensed menu system than the previous, vertically-aligned menu system.
While the change would be considered minor for most websites, Google’s ubiquity and reluctance to roll out interface changes makes this news noteworthy. It has also led to speculation; is this new interface designed to allow easier access on a new class of devices? Or has Google simply decided that it is a better interface?
Google’s clean, simple interface has been lauded as one of its best features. With only the Google logo, text and plenty of white space, Google’s search engine web page is the epitome of minimalist website design. While its website has become somewhat less spartan over the years, it is still the the least intrusive interface for quick, effective search results.
Matched with their clear design are some of the most advanced page ranking algorithms in the industry. With sophisticated techniques to find which pages are popular and relevant while filtering out spam and other low-quality sites, Google has been delivering the best search engine results, according to many measures and surveys, since its launch in 1998.
Some are speculating that this new interface allows for better ad placement. While Google garners most of its attention because of its search engine results, its AdWords advertising program is where many experts consider it a rousing success. By using advanced algorithms to deliver targeted ads relevant to page content, Google has become the most popular Internet advertising provider by a wide margin. Any tweak that leads to better ad visibility and higher click-through rates without annoying customers leads to significantly increased revenue for Google.
Google has not made any announcements about this new design. It remains to be seen if Google will eventually use this new interface for all users or if it is simply a test. Either way, because of Google’s conservative nature, any interface tweaks or changes will be big news.