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Beta Tests - Playing with SERP Layout Continues

     
5:17 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have been noticing a new Google UI for last 3 days. Here is the screenshot - [img230.imageshack.us...]

Anybody else notice this UI?

7:49 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am replying to my own post :)

Times certainly have changed, few years back change in Google's SERPs design could have generated a lot of commotion on this site. I guess nobody notices such things anymore :)

9:00 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yup, 'cause at one time, we all didn't have such problems with our search results.

You'll find much of our remaining conversations in the many other threads under this same category. hahahha

10:10 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I guess I'm slow. What is different?

I see a "Searches related to:" at the bottom on some searches. Funny, I noticed that yesterday, but it was in a sidebar at the left. This may have been there for months, and I wouldn't have known it was there, because it's buried at the bottom of the page.

Maybe they are testing various layouts?

This would seem to be a response to ask.com, which I've switched-to from Google for most of my searching.

I also see they've gotten a bit web 2.0ish, something that I swear Google said they wouldn't do. For example, when you search for a company name, and there is a stock quote, there is a + next to the "stock quote" link, which expands into a detailed stock quote if you click it.

Again, I am just guessing, as like most Google users, I don't particularly notice changes in the UI. Mostly I just yawn and go back to ask.com.

10:29 pm on May 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Its different because your logged into google and your personal setting are set different than google main.
12:10 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I notice that the "local results" showing three local businesses pinpointed on a map for regional queries has been dropped in favor of this new style. At least temporarily. Frankly, I think the local results concept was a bad idea.
1:51 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Its different because your logged into google and your personal setting are set different than google main.

Yes absolutely!

2:45 am on May 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I was not logged into Google and it looks very different to me.
8:53 am on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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The clue for you is your gmail address and the link that says sign out. So you were signed in.
9:18 am on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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In my case, it doesn't say Sign Out, it says Sign In. I just cleared my cache. I am looking at precisely the same thing. It's a new look. If you don't see it, then maybe Google is doing a regional test or rollout.
6:48 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Its different because your logged into google and your personal setting are set different than google main.

Yes absolutely!

I signed out, result still the same. Have a look - [img391.imageshack.us...] In fact I started getting this UI when I was not logged in my account.

The only way i can get rid of this is by clearing my cookies.

8:15 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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NEW LAYOUT
Now with a sidebar on a different PC on my network, have a look - [img260.imageshack.us...] - it seems I am the official goggle guinea pig.
8:36 pm on May 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a different "new" SERP design in the last two or three days, and I hate it: the top right link to "define" the search term (a dictionary lookup) is gone, and the top of the page no longer tells you how many results there were for your search (this info only appears at the very bottom of the page).

Terrible!

1:17 am on May 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yep, nileshkurhade, that is what I see. And I am delighted that local results stuff with the map is gone, at least for the time being.
1:35 am on May 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Maybe this is because local results were never generated by google but by third party directories and they have something new comming or have realised results were bad.
1:40 am on May 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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or have realised results were bad.

I'm still getting local results with a map. And the results aren't bad. They're really good IMHO.
I've used them lots.
5:12 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is a boring subject as Google are testing the layout continuously. I personally got fed up with trying to figure out which is which and I am ignoring it.
5:33 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a different "new" SERP design in the last two or three days, and I hate it

It's not a matter of hating it, the design is just plain horrible, all aspects considered (usability, accessibility, ergonomics). Changing the design randomly (and quite regularly, for me, since a few weeks -but I've got these designs, occasionally, for many months) is even worse.

They just cannot be serious with this. I guess this is some kind of useless psychological test (how does the user react, when vital informations are removed, or moved...).

Plain and simple: I reload the page, to get the proper design back.

A complete waste of time, for everyone (and much more, when the user do not, or cannot understand what on Earth is happening to Google, or to his Web browser...).

I do not even want to think about what they want to do by analyzing anything about the user's behaviour, in this context.

6:58 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What is horrible for someone can be a great solution for someone else. That`s why these are called "tests". Otherwise nothing would change or evolve.
7:06 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Have I ever participated in one of these threads? ;) Honestly can't remember at the moment, but surely I *must* have somewhere along the line!

Anyway, I for one like the left-hand sidebar layout. I find it very appealing for several reasons.

[edited by: MatthewHSE at 7:06 pm (utc) on May 11, 2007]

3:05 am on May 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What I find more interesting than the new design is who is ranking for the term "google news". Strange that an RSS feed on a popular new web 2.0 microblog site that is barely 6 months old is page 1 for a popular phrase with nearly 600m results.
4:26 am on May 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Completely stupid, (but probably "stupid like a fox").

Stupid #1: inconsistent. One search produces one set of navigation links and similar term produces another. Navigation is part of UI --- and if users can't count on finding the same nav links in the same place they have to hunt around and think too much about it.

Stupid #2 - redundant, (e.g.- "Images" above search box and in left nav -- about 100 pixels apart)...

#4 Stupid - links with [+]more links and [-]more links --- it looks like they let a newbie play with the UI while the real developers took a vacation.

# STUPID 5 -
about
as
stupid
as
listing
everything
vertical
and
horizontal so people don't know which way to read.

diputs 6 # - about as logical and easy to follow as the way I have numbered these references to G's new STUPID interface.

The only reason I see for it is the next logical progression --- mix PPC ads into the left nav to get more paid links to the top of the page.

Exactly what I expect from an advertising company, (even it if it's one that used to be a search engine).

9:13 am on May 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Who cares about the new layout. Google can do what they want. They got Webster to give a new meaning for their company.
I get a little disturbed though (should I say "iGet")how google says they took time and all to name there new personal google layout as "iGoogle" and claim it as there own idea because of the internet.

Google is only trying to please their stock holders now and down the road a big share holder company will take control of the once search engine for the people.

Look out Apple, here comes Google.

[edited by: jatar_k at 12:40 pm (utc) on May 12, 2007]
[edit reason] language [/edit]

10:23 am on May 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What is horrible for someone can be a great solution for someone else.

You mean removing commonly used features (word definition), and moving the total number of results, a number commonly used too, to the bottom of the page, leaving a blank space at the top of the page...?

That`s why these are called "tests".

Are you, by far, the most-used search engine on the entire Internet, and do you test badly designed stuffs, randomly, on normal users...?

I mean, we are talking about Google, here, not your personal website. They call their employees "geniuses", and they sure can pay for the most competent interface designers out there... but, first and foremost, they can pay for thousand of testers, and numerous test firms, to test their designs...

If they want even more people, they can just launch some beta site/option... (which is quite trendy, nowadays, because users like it, and because websites talk about you -meaning, while you surely won't get beginner users, that average users will easily try it).

Again, they are very clearly messing up things.

Otherwise nothing would change or evolve.

When you are an interface designer, you must have learnt at least the very basics of interface design (and design in general)... The problem of hiding or moving vital informations, and changing the design randomly, is not even part of the basics. It is common sense. Never, ever do it. You already know what the very obvious result will be.

As lexipixel said, they are very probably thinking about ads, and I really don't like it.

5:32 am on May 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When the test settles and Google defines its final SERPs look and feel, it'll be nice to debate the look and feel of the main engines, Google, Yahoo and Live.

I wonder how the outcome of the cases Apple vs. Microsoft and Lotus vs. Borland affects the look and feel of the SERPs.

If I'm correct and based on the cases, the SERPs of the 3 main engines can't be too similar. There should be differences on the position of the main menus, the positions of the non-paid and sponsored results.

I wonder if any of the 3 engines has claimed rights in terms of look and feel.

A drastic change in the look and feel of SERPs could bother users.

2:46 pm on May 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I put in a one word search term in Google. I do this search frequently and the results and I are 'old friends' .. I saw something that I've never seen before and had visions of Tedster's thread of 'fundamental change'.

The search term is a geographical word - a generic word that also has a specific locational meaning at times. Previously, results focused mainly on the generic meaning of the word. Now, it seems as if there is a locational type movement (and not a very good one at that)

The results were completely different and arranged in three sections, with horizontal rules.

1 .. keyword dot com
2 .. keywordrestaurants dot com
3 .. a wikipedia entry for keyword
4.......indented wikipedia result for keyword bands

-- a blue line --

-- see results for keyword restaurant --

5. restaurants listed - all at this kind of location
6. ditto
7. ditto

-- another blue line --

8. an unrelated site that was never previously in the top 10 - flash only, content sadly lacking ...
9. a myspace 'space'... referring to the site in the eight spot
10. and finally some weather for this kind of location for one of the big weather sites

It is like I've landed on another planet. Of all these results, I've ever only seen the first one on the first 10 spots. The generic version of the search term was clearly almost replaced by a strange attempt at a locational definition

No, I was not signed in to Google at the time. There was no question of 'tailoring' the results to fit my 'profile'.

What is this stuff? Horizontal Lines and giving me restaurants and weather on a one word search term? A term that I know there are stacks of results?

[edited by: tedster at 6:43 am (utc) on May 13, 2007]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

5:55 am on May 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Google has been experimenting for quite some time with various methods of grouping serps results by category. These usually kick in on extremely general searches, where it's likely that modifiers will be necessary to produce results that will satisfy the user.

I allude to such divisions in this post...

[webmasterworld.com...]

I've seen various Google tests recently that divide up the serps pages into different types of sites satisfying the same searches. I'm thinking that this kind of division... considerations of the intention of the site... might have a big effect on how well multiple sites will be able to do in the future. It won't be so much a duplication issue as an overlap vs available space-at-the-top issue.

I haven't seen this kind of page division for a geo name search. What I generally see on those is a set of refinements at the bottom of the page...

Refine results for san francisco:
Dining guides - - Attractions - - Suggested itineraries
Lodging guides - - Shopping - - Tours & day trips

Hard to reproduce them here. They're similar in appearance to the refinements that display at the top of the serps for very general medical or health searches.

Another discussion on serp experiments here...

Yet Another Google SERP Layout Test
longer snippets, thumbs, site search
[webmasterworld.com...]

Barry discusses something probably more similar to what you're describing over at SearchEngineLand...

Google Testing Grouping Search Results By Category
[searchengineland.com...]

2:26 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This is more than 'playing with layout'! It is a clear departure from good results, to results that profit the engine. Imagine doing a search on the keyword 'planet' and getting a result for restaurant on Mars!
6:07 pm on May 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've run across another alternative layout in the past few days, where they'll sometimes take the Local OneBox and move it down into the search results so it's not always in the very top slot over the rest of the organic listings. Example search for "san antonio sea world":

[flickr.com...]

3:55 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Silvery:

I think they are clearly testing. I performed that search today and the onebox was at the top.

They have such better knowledge of searcher behavior than anyone are probably testing this mid page presentation to see how it affects user behavior with regard to organic serps and ppc activity.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32
 

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