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August 4, 2012

Google's Sidebar-less Search Experiments

Many people noticed the Google search interface experiment I've mentioned back in June. Google tests multiple versions of the interface, but they have one thing in common: the left sidebar is replaced with a horizontal navigation bar.

The new horizontal bar includes Google's specialized search engines and a "search tools" link that displays the advanced search options. The bar is either aligned with the search box or it's aligned with the black bar, depending on the experiment.

It's obvious that Google wants to get rid of the sidebar and make search options more visible, but the new bar might confuse users and the left padding makes the page look unbalanced.

{ Thanks, Ruben, Param, Denis. }


  1. Here the instructions:

  2. the left padding makes the advertising positions more centralized, coupled with the large white space on the right (and in general less going on within the main page) it should generate more ad clicks for Google - so this change should certainly be seen as simply ad focused and not usability focused.

    But that's just my opinion.

  3. they might be opening more space for the knowledge graph

  4. "Google wants to get rid of the sidebar and make search options more visible"
    This sounds reasonable.

  5. Yes I suppose this is ad focused, removing sidebar for a visible option sounds good.

  6. Google Search Mobile tests a new interface:

  7. more mouse clicks to performa the same function is BAD

  8. This decision to move the search tool sidebar to the top of the screen really sucks. Now instead of one click, it's three clicks. It all adds up to wasted time. And for what reason? Simply to make the search results look better on a mobile screen. Well, Google, go take a look at the BBC News website. They detect the device the browser is on and reformat accordingly. If the tech department in Google is so poor that they don't know how to do this then why don't they contact the BBC?

    Leave the search toolbar on the left hand side.

  9. The decision to move the search toolbar to the top of the screen sucks. Now, instead of a simple single click, it's three clicks. Might not sound much but why waste my time? All adds up. If the BBC News website can detect the device the browser is on then why can't Google? Or maybe the techies at google don't know how to do this yet?

    Jon Wiley...Lead Designer at Google for this....are you listening?