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Monday, March 29, 2004

Google's New Look

Judging by the scope of Google's PR for the upgraded look and new features today, it doesn't appear that it's a random test. :)

Since my colleagues and I are most attuned to the impact the new look might have on our advertising clients, "but we're also loyal Google users!," -- our initial reactions reflect those (multiple) biases.

Here were a few of the knee-jerk reactions from here:


  • A couple of us noted with interest Google beginning to ease out of its relationship with the Open Directory Project, dmoz.org. Since the dmoz founders and most of the key volunteers have also largely distanced themselves from it, what's propping this thing up, we wonder?
  • The fact that the ads on the right-hand side aren't colored, and look more like listings (in spite of being labeled as sponsored links) is a major change. The new look is cleaner, and the old "fruit loops" look had perhaps run its course. But is it just me or does this new layout appear to jut the ads farther out into the user's field of view? Also, at the same time, aren't the search results awfully far over to the left-hand side of the page, almost "behind" where the eye begins to look? We don't know if this will increase clickthrough rates on the ads just yet, but it seems that the ads are subtly given more prominence.
  • The two ads appearing in premium position at the top of the page are blended together now, because the backgrounds are the same color. This could result in users clicking the wrong ad. We don't like the looks of this.
  • Froogle is being promoted more obviously now, but it's still in "beta." They're nothing if not cagey, these Google people! Right, and this site is under construction.
  • Continuity is the order of the day. That home page is still nice and clean. It would be pretty tough to go around telling people that Google's so dominant because of their clean-looking pages if they turned around and cluttered 'em up.


Now I just hope Google doesn't keep changing the look of its SERP's, since I'm taking screen shots of examples for the section about "how your ads will look on Google" for this book I'm now writing, and I'll now have to replace the first batch of images...

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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