I see a new design, is this what you are talking about?
Now three columns
Column 1 shows "Search for.... with links to Images, Maps, News, Groups, Books and more".
Column 2 shows the results
Column 3 shows the Adwords links
Total number of results etc is now at the bottom of the page, and means that the page has to be scrolled down to get to the number etc.
Showing for google.com (126.96.36.199) but not google.co.uk
I can't see how this will help people as in my experience someone doing a search for "blue widgets" will look at the number of results and think 972 million - too many and then change their search phrase to be more targeted.