If you used Google at all today then you probably noticed that something looked slightly different. If you have a keen eye like me, then you already know the look and feel of our search results have changed – rather dramatically.
Google came out with a statement explaining the changes  in the following way, “Today’s metamorphosis responds to the increasing richness of the web and the increasing power of search — revealing search tools on the left and updating the visual look and feel throughout. While we are constantly rolling out small changes and updates, today’s changes showcase the latest evolutions in our search technology, making it easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for.”
Now, I can’t help but wonder if their goal to “make it easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for” was truly accomplished. How great are these changes from a usability standpoint?
I’ll go through the changes and list how great they really are…
Change #1: The addition of a left-hand navigation to the page
If you ask me, Google has always been the company obsessed  with “less is more”, “the fewer, the better”. But this new addition seems contradictory to that. To be honest, I think it makes the overall page a bit weighty, creating anxiety from a usability perspective. Not to mention the fact that it’s a total copy cat of Bing! Notice the resemblance?
Aside for the similarity to their counterpart, what’s up with the redundant 2 navs? It [totally] does not make sense to have the same functionality on one page. Did they forget online best practices?!? Nearly all the links along the top of the page are streamlined again on the left hand column. Doesn’t seem optimized from a usability standpoint!
Change #2: An updated look and feel of the logo color palette.
As you can see I’m not thrilled with change #1. But change #2 is well done. The logo changes are slight, continuing to keep the minimalistic theme. Most Google users wouldn’t even notice, I’m sure. But the new logo looks whimsical and more modern to me. Just my style. Two thumbs up on the fresh new logo, Google! We all can use a facelift every now and then.
What do you think of Google’s latest makeover? Do these changes create a richer search experience for users? Or just clutter the page with irrelevant information?