Google unveiled a brand new look for its industry-dominating search engine yesterday. The new 3-Column format is designed to make filtering searches and drilling down results easier than ever. Some folks are praising the new interface. Others, if you are following the comments on the various news feeds and blogs, are outraged and want their old Google back. While no one can make everyone happy, when a giant like Google makes even the smallest change, you are certain to hear a great deal from both sides. Suffice it to say that the new changes are worth a good, hard look.
Google’s new user interface is clean and uncluttered. It is also very logical and user-friendly. No longer do you have to hunt for search options. They are all in the left column. Filtering by content type (news, blogs, video, etc.) or timeliness (latest, past month, etc) is as easy as clicking. check out the “related searches” and “wonder wheel” links for some truly interesting functionality. The “Something Different” section on the left gives you even more to think about while conducting your searches. What you see in the left column is just the surface. As you begin to drill into the search options, even more functionality reveals itself (filtering by date ranges, choosing just pages with photos, etc.). It is really powerful stuff!
Search results now appear in the middle column of the page and look like they always have. Of course, selecting any of the search options on the left will change the list you see. Drilling down is thus interactive, easy, and immediate. As it should be! The right column is for ads, of course. After all, someone has to pay for innovation (and to keep it free for the rest of us!). Other changes worth noting are the new look of the Google logo (not so 3D-y anymore) and page footer (much cleaner).
So what is there to complain about with so much search optimization and customization so readily and obviously available? Well, if you read the comments on the various news and search engine blogs, it appears that Google stalwarts fear two things. First, they miss the minimalist look of the Google search page – a look that many say set Google apart from the rest. Second, they fear that Google is trying too hard to compete with the “rest”. Many are pointing out that Google looks and feels a lot like Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Though Google still dominates the market, Bing has steadily grown to a 10% share in search engine preference. Is the new look of Google a reaction to Bing’s challenge? Maybe. Will it drive enough people away to hurt Google’s own marketshare? We think not. The iBraryGuy team is impressed by Google’s new interface. It is the epitome of searching elegance, bolstered by the power that only Google can deliver.