Google may have missed mark with search page experiment

Sometimes less is just less. Users tweet on simplified search results attempt

Google is experimenting with a new look for its search results page, and so far users don't seem impressed.

For the past few days, people have been taking to Twitter to largely complain about the new look that Google has been toying with. According to Google, the experiment is part of what the company calls a "bucket test," which is a test with changes made visible only to a small percentage of users.

"Google is constantly experimenting with new features," a Google spokeswoman said.

Google appears to be playing around with simplifying the look of the search results page. There appears to be less information, a lot more white space and dotted lines in between the results. There are also fewer search results per page.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said there's a finesse to presenting search results, and Google seems to have missed it with this new look. "There's a line between uncluttered and obtuse," he said. "It looks like Google's new sparse search page is on the obtuse side. Sometimes less is more, but in this case, it's just less."

Olds also noted that users have flocked to Google over the years because of the amount of information that the search engine gives them. This experiment seems counterintuitive.

"This new look puts many fewer results up on the screen and will force a lot of scrolling and next paging," he added. "A suspicious person might wonder if putting fewer results on the first page might lead to greater hits on those results - meaning higher value for whatever result ends up on the prime real estate."

While only a small number of users have been getting the experimental results pages, those pages are getting a lot of comments on Twitter.

Atli_vidar tweeted, "New google layout being tested, doesn't look as efficient as before," while DaveChaffey tweeted, "I've been getting the new Google SERPS over the weekend and dislike it too = slower to scan. Agree?"

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about internet search in Computerworld's Internet Search Topic Center.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags e-commerceGoogletwitterInternet Searchinternetsearch engines

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?