>>With this new SERP layout I seem to pay more attention to the url than before.
I've noticed a definite uptick in the number of people searching for my URL by name this week, as a search term. Related? Maybe they are noticing more clearly what site these results are coming from and searching directly for that site as a result when they want something else?
Also, I really think the color change to black is just to highlight that bar more... to try and tell people there are more options than just normal Google Search. Google really seems to be trying to push people away from normal search more and more.