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Monday, March 29, 2004

Google Unveils Updated Interface, Users Cheer

I'm not sure if this is a random test that I'm seeing, but it appears that Google has finally updated its interface sitewide this morning. Rumors of this have been circulating for months, and it seems to be official now.

Gone are the tabs above the search box on the Google home page that launched a thousand imitators, in favor of plain text links, and a new "invisible" tab (to borrow from Danny Sullivan) called "more >>" that links to a page of all the Google services and tools (and neat, new icons, to boot!).

Do a web search, and this is what you'll see now:



(Click the screenshot above to perform this search for "wine reviews" and see it up close)

At first glance, it's a bit tough to pick out the changes, but here's what I can discern:

  • There's a new page header for the type of search, in this case it's "Web". A quick glance indicates this new layout is consistent for other search types, such as Images and Groups.
  • Search term is more clearly linked to a definition of the term.
  • If the search term matches text in the URL, it is now highlighted in bold, green text.
  • AdWords has gotten an extreme makeover. The "interest" bar meter is toast, and the font is larger. There's also a dividing vertical line between the natural, organic search results and the sponsored links. Also, the border around the ads is now but a memory.

My take? I like it. I like it uh lawt. With all the fancy interfaces cropping up at competing search engines, it was high time Google updated their venerable look and feel to keep up, and to facilitate easier searching. I think this change also highlights other search options better, which was something Google seemed to struggle with, as it continued to integrate new features into its toolset.

I'll let Andrew talk about the AdWords changes, but my guess is that it will help increase clickthrough rates a bit, since the ads now look more like search results, in my mind.

Google may take its time when it makes changes, but when it finally unveils such changes, it does a first-class job. Perhaps this will hush the critics in the media who constantly speculate about Google's rein as king of the search engines coming to an end soon. But, probably not.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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