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March 27, 2012

Google Experiments With a Collapsible Search Sidebar

Google tests a new search interface that hides the options from the sidebar by default. You need to click a small arrow icon to see the list of specialized search engines and some advanced search options that let you filter results.

Essentially, this experiment hides the sidebar's content, but the sidebar still takes up space. Back in 2009, the sidebar was hidden by default and Google made it more visible one year later.

Now that the navigation bar no longer includes many specialized search engines, it doesn't make sense to hide the sidebar. Another issue is that the sidebar highlights advanced options that are relevant to your query, but few people will find them if the sidebar is collapsed by default.

{ via Websonic. Thanks, Akos. }


  1. I only see value in this if the content takes center stage in lieu of a collapsed menu, and gets out of the way once it is uncollapsed. Otherwise the white space overpowers the feel of the page and distracts from the results.

  2. i think it should be more like google news, the side bar will be hidden automatically when the windows is getting smaller

  3. Few people use the specialise queries now. Hiding them does not make sense unless they use the space to expand the area devoted to search.

  4. I'd like to see all of Google's apps use a collapsible sidebar. That way everyone would remember there are more options, hidden away until needed. The top, black menu could also be stored as a tab inside the sidebar. Plus an option to either mouseover or click to open. All of this would free up screen space and be consistent.

  5. Stupid. I actually use those tools in sidebar and it would be annoying to click one more link to show them.

    If whole sidebar is hidden, and available on mouse over, that would be fine.

  6. Man, this blog got boring once Google started sucking.

  7. I don't see a point to this other than to change for the sake of it. Like you said, it still takes up space. It'll also require an extra click to switch to other searches, like news or images.

    And no, this blog is not boring.

  8. Google's designers have got too much power recently. It's a disaster since they make easy solutions that ruins google products. Make pretty UI is easy! Making pretty, functional AND intuitive UI is a challenge. They don't have the imagination to do - just look at android how it's becoming to look like a windows phone. How do I know what is a button?

  9. I'm now not seeing the sidebar, but not getting the toggle either.
    Both are there, but both set to display:none
    Leaving me with no option but to click into advanced search every time. Or Bing :(

    FFS Google, it wasn't broken, stop trying to fix it.

  10. I still see the top menu bar & the side bar, no options to turn either off.

  11. Here the cookie:


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