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Not sure I like it.
[edited by: tedster at 10:50 pm (utc) on Mar. 26, 2006]
Its not the bar that bothers me so much as the relevancy factor.
I am assuming/hoping the relevancy factor will be kicked up several notches. I went to the "Groups" and all the links just to see what was there for our country name and the results returned were surprising to say the least.
1 result was written by a KKK member! For a country that is 90% black ... that doesn't bode well!
4 out of ten refer to a 6 year old murder case involving 4 American male suspects and and American female victim.
1 refers to nothing which makes sense and the posts are dated 2001
1 refers to travel related question from the year 2000
1 refers to the German World Cup CONCACAF WCQ Fixtures and Results posted in 2004
1 refers to marinas from August 2000
Ummm ... I'm pretty sure more has happened since 1999 to 2001 even though it is a pretty small and quiet country!
The news link is somewhat better the Groups but could be improved as well.
Call me silly, but I think Google can do better on the relevancy side of things than that! :)
It's also a poor use of space on the left side of your screen. The old header has plenty of white space - why not put it in the header instead of shifting your organic results to the middle of your screen and creating more unused white space.
The left nav thing makes sense (at least from G's perspective). Google is trying to dominate everywhere. The left nav will force users to recognize that G offers other services and types of search.
First, the position is privileged for the reasons outlined above. Furthermore, by displaying a visual representation of your query's success in these categories, Google is enticing users to explore. In short, the move is meant to draw more attention to Google's niche search areas.
Two other side-effects can be noted. First, the relocation allows for the actual search results to start higher up on the page. This is good because it means that users can expect to see more per "window." It's also "good" because this means that Google's text ads can start higher on the page as well. Second, by displaying the categories in a column, Google has plenty of vertical space to play with when it comes to adding additional categories. Its previous placement was limited by horizontal space, and was pushing the page down. With this layout, Google has room to grow.
I agree that it calls more attention to G's more niche searches...and if it really give them more room to grow then perhaps we will start seeing more of the Combined Search results [webmasterworld.com] that are the default in Korea search engines.
It also kinda reminds of the Vivisimo results clustering (though that is keyword specific)...its kinda a step in that direction. hmmm....
Um ... wha?
Looks like they just moved the "images/groups/news/froogle/local" links from the top to the left column, for those of you who can't get this to work. Next to each link is a little grey/green bar with the green at different levels, similar to the PR bar on a website if you have the Google toolbar.
Interesting! Thanks for pointing that out!
However, I don't like it. It seems that this change in layout actually makes Google look like any other search engine - actually the second grade meta search kind.
The key to Google's success was it's simplicity. This clearly is information overloading for the first time users - what this will do is divide the future search users between the search engines. I personally think if this is launched it's the start of a downfall. An apt phrase - Gliding the lily.