Google's New Bing Look for Search Result Pages Goes Live

Googles New Bing Look for Search Result Pages Goes Live

Google has rolled out to the general public a new design/layout for their results page, and it's just as much like Bing as it was back when they were testing it back in January (there were rumors at the time that this was rolling out live for everyone, but it appears that a few more months of tweaking was required—Google's official announcement on their blog says that this new look reflects feedback they've received from testers over the past several months).  It's so much like Bing that it's alarming.

Of course, it's nearly impossible to believe that Google is copying Bing… for a host of reasons.  First and foremost, they don't need to copy Bing.  What little market share Bing has grabbed has largely come from Yahoo and not Google, and the upstart engine from Microsoft has yet to prove itself a real threat to the search giant.  Copying your competitors who have only 20% of your market share is not generally considered a good strategy.  You're already beating them.

Second, changes like this don't happen overnight.  They don't even happen over a few months' time.  They take years, typically.  Foundations for this redesign were surely in place long before Bing had much of anything to show for itself.

But that doesn't mean Google hasn't possibly observed what some other engines like Bing are doing right and adapted on the fly.

Here's a screenshot of the new layout:

Googles New Bing Look for Search Result Pages Goes Live

So let's break down the new look by talking about some of the changes I noticed almost immediately.

Left Side Menu

There is a left-side menu now with lots of options for filtering your search, beginning with the now-standard list of the different kinds of searches you can perform:  News, Maps, Books, Images, Blogs, and a More button.  Google says that three of their technologies are powering these left-side filter options:  Universal Search, Google Squared, and Search Options Panel.  I would guess Universal Search is what's driving most of these "genre" filters.

No Default "Videos" Filter

Right out of the gate, please notice that "Videos" is not a default option.  You have to click the "More" button to get the rest of the choices such as Videos, Shopping, Updates, and Discussions.  Does that seem weird to anyone but me? Video is a default option on the standard "type of search" filter selections that have been at the top left of Google result pages for years.  But in the new interface—in the new left-side menu bar—it's almost like there is a de-emphasis on video.

Why would Google, who owns video giant YouTube and constantly trumpets how important video is to the future of search go and hide the Videos search filter option?  I'm not sure, but it's hard to believe it's anything but intentional.  Which maybe means they think they're getting so good at fitting video results inside standard content results that they won't need a filter option for "video" much longer?  Just a thought.

UPDATE: Okay, after further experimentation, it appears that "Videos" actually is a default filter listing for some queries, but not for others.  In fact, the entire list changes based on what you're searching.  That's actually even more interesting, though it raises some questions about how they determine which searches warrant which default filtering options.

Filter By Date

Continuing down the left side, you'll also see filter options related to time and date.  You can search by "Latest" results, or—after expanding the More Search Tools option—by results from within the last 24 hours, week, month, year, or even a custom range.  All very handy features that are not entirely new—but their existence on the main search page is new.

Filter By View

You can change "views" on your search results, choosing the default Standard View or from options like Related Searches, Wonder Wheel, and Timeline.  Each of these options will take the results you got originally and augment them by either layout or function.  Clicking "Related Searches," for instance, will pop a quick-access "related searches" section at the top of the same results.

Clicking on Wonder Wheel will push results off to the right and show you Google's wheel of filter options related to your original query (just a fancier kind of "Related Searches" option).  Clicking Timeline is a fascinating experience, as you are then served results based on a historical timeline.  In my screenshot, I chose to search for "hockey," and the Timeline option then gives me information by order of the date they reference (history of the game, rules changes, notable news stories)… it's really neat.

Something Different

Finally, below that section you will see Something Different, which is a quick-jump way to change to results for a similar query (in my test case, that means other sports are listed such as volleyball and basketball).

Changes Are Cosmetic, Not Algorithmic

There isn't any indication that this new layout reflects any change at all in the actual results—meaning the algorithm hasn't undergone a facelift as well… it's just the look and feel of the results page.

In Summary

So what changed between the last look we took at this new layout in January and today?  Well, the testing feedback must have been overwhelmingly negative regarding the color blue.  The "search" button and the outline of the search box itself, which were both blue in the January version, have now reverted to the more common gray.   Outside of that change, most everything else is pretty much the same.

It's going to take a lot of getting used to for what I would call "average Google users”—those who aren't accustomed to filtering their results.  If people freaked out over the recent YouTube redesign, there's a good chance a lot of those same individuals will cry "foul" over the new Google results.  Change always has critics.

For people who are more of a Google power user—filtering results frequently by genre and date—the functionality is all the same… you just have filtering options in new places.  Still a bit of an adjustment, but overall just a blip on the radar.

And what does it mean for content producers?  Are your videos going to be found more easily?  Only time will tell.  It certainly seems like a setback for video creators to have Google hiding the "Videos" filter on the left-side.  But again, the goal with video SEO isn't really to be found when people filter searches by "video”—though that's definitely desireable—but, rather, to simply be found on the main results page.  In that regard… nothing has changed.  Your video's organic placement hasn't changed on the new layout… at least… not until users start filtering their original search.

I'm a big fan.  All this new layout does is help users get to the information they want more quickly.  Of course, I'm a big fan of Bing too… and technically, you could say they did this first (though Google was surely working on some of these ideas independent of what Bing was doing).  Oh, and it's worth pointing out that if things were reversed, and Bing was rolling out a search results page that had been altered to look more like Google… Microsoft haters the world over would come out of hiding to bash them for being copycats instead of innovators.

I'm told this is a live rollout for everyone, and that even the mobile version will be getting a new look.  So… have you had a chance to play around with the new Google results layout?  Are you a fan?  A hater?  Did you take one look at it and vow to never use Google again?  I'd be very curious to hear everyone's thoughts on the new design, particularly if you dislike it.

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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    Regarding - "No Default “Videos” Filter" ahhh haaaa - but did you do a search for something whereby you would think that videos would be a good result to show?? Try that.. I have to say - seems a bit algorithmic to me... hehe....

    • Jeremy Scott

      You know, I ran several queries in testing... an none of them had the "Videos" filter by default. However, I did start to see it on some queries later on--particularly searches for band or singer names. For instance, search "OK Go" and you'll see "videos" listed as a default filter setting on the left.

      "Hockey" still returns no default option for video. Ditto for "Basketball." But "Football" has it.

      Strange. So the algorithm is definitely playing a roll here... and it's fascinating to me that the default options change based on the query. I still think the organic results/listings are not affected by this new layout though.

      • Serious Sam

        its sort of the mixture, a messy one!

  • Keisha V

    When I first saw it I had to refresh my page to see if I was actually using Google. But my overall take on it is that it is really good for marketing perspective. One of my favorite tools to use was the Wonder Wheel which was hidden before, now it's easily accessible by being on the left hand side. I think they have made a great change, very exciting, and easy to use! The filters is also a big plus it makes it easier to grab the content you want!

  • frustrated Googler

    I hate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me my old user experience back..

  • http://freestuff4uez.webs.com Anonymous

    old is gold... I liked google because of its simplicity - now it seems too complex.
    they should have a "Classic View" option

    • http://galaxypoker.net Amelia

      How can we bring our old google back? I really hate this new look.

  • randykirk

    I have already been using the options and agree with you all the way. However, my guess on videos is that they messed up and will change it. Anyone who does SEO knows that Google messes up all the time. My specialization is Google Places and it is remarkable how much better it is than the other local search engines, but yet how really sad some of the functionality is.

    • Jeremy Scott

      Yeah, upon further testing... there are definitely some queries where it shows up, and others where it does not... which is a whole new level of interesting for me.

  • daniel

    Is a bit different, I kind of like the old one.
    Sometimes I try out Bing, but I always go back to Google, because it looks so clean.
    Now the left side of the page, its eaten by the new page properties.
    It makes it look quite cluttered.
    They should give you the option to go back.

    Don't mind they are trying something new, but I still just so used to my old google.

  • kevin

    Thank you I thought I missed something there. You explanatin was very informative.

  • Ted

    The simple, uncluttered view is what differentiates Google from its competitors. The old classic design definitely has its loyal fans.
    This is like Coke being changed to be sweeter, to taste more like Pepsi. Early taste tests were encouraging, but as soon as the new product came out there was widespread outrage.

    • Jeremy Scott

      Yes... not a bad analogy... except that Pepsi is FAR closer to Coke than Bing is to Google. Google has the luxury of being able to make changes like this without the threat of losing market share.

      • Will Hunting

        For now ...

  • Robbiam

    Don't like it. Have used google for yrs cuz of it's clean look and uncluttered viewpoints. I work on friends and family PCs & once I get done dealing with their various malicious software issues my final step is to clear all browser hijacks and set them to google. In fact, I prefer to lock down their IE home page if at all possible to google. But alas, even google has let the marketing bug creep in.

    Why is there not a "classic" view for us purist? I find it hard to believe that test subjects want more adds, more space used, and less room for what they were there for in the 1st place, to search. I do not find it hard to believe focus groups come up with this crap after being guided by what corp, and more specifically, marketing wants.

    Here is what I want and the only thing I want from the initial google search page:

    Search:_____________________________

    Get it?

  • john

    i hate it, give me my google back

  • Bad Google

    Ads on the right ....permanent "helpful" toolbar on the left.....very little room for search results.

    Understand why the ads are there, but unless the toolbar gets a hide -or- permanently delete option the ad companies will suffer because many users will go elsewhere. Dang it I may have to use Bing more often.

  • Jason Schoon

    I personally do not like this new Google. I would prefer they give you the option to choose which you want to use. Times are different these days. Companies seem to no longer give you a choice, they just release the update, and you are stuck with it no matter if you like it or not. Facebook, Myspace, and apparently now Google, are all doing it. I miss the days when we actually had choices.

  • Dudeman

    Google "Hide Google Options"

  • Guest

    Dislike. It looks cluttered. It's the anti-Google.

  • Jane

    It looks like shit. I liked the old version a lot better. The reason google changed it's "look" is because of bing and nothing more than competition and it looks very generic. Google, please, go back to the old version. And I agree with the first Anonymous with google having a classic view option.

  • D Stevenson

    Too busy, the left hand menus are stealing too much screen real estate, give us the option to keep the classic look!!!

    • http://dangermart.blogspot.com/ Martin Gray

      Yup, I'm with the naysayers, the critics of change you're dismissing, Jeremy. I prefer the classic clean look rather than this grey-looking thing.

      Nice article, though!

  • Grant

    Hate the new layout. Crap on the left side cluttering the screen! Darn you, google! Already implemented all the good ideas and now you are cluttering up my screen just like all the search engines you supplanted.

  • Chad

    I think it's crap. I want very simple search results. At the very least give me the option to remove this "junk" from my screen. Nothing new should be forced on users. Roll outs should be gradual with the ability to revert back to your comfort zone at any time. These software guys always think they are smarter than the rest of us and know what we want. What they don't understand is I don't care how cleaver they are with there filtering algorithms. Keep It Simple Stupid

  • Douken

    I've always love google because it's clean. Now it's cluttered and bloated, what's up with this... at least give me the option to change back.

  • Robert

    Why don't all the images show up on the pages? Very annoying.

  • tedmich

    How do I get back to the other google????. I dislike the "newspaper" column look. Left side of page is a disaster for me and right side takes up way too much room. Sorry guys and gals, this is a dud, dud, dud !!!!

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    All - I dont know if you can turn things off, but you can always look at the old results here - plus, it's kinda funny...

    http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=xx-elmer

    • Robert

      Much better, thank you for sharing, now if I could make this page my default search page!

  • Me

    I hate the new look and think Google should offer a "classic" option.

    • Jon

      I absolutely abhor this new look. And I'm pretty sure a lot of people do as well, judging by the posts on their support forum. The issue here is not even a matter of preference, it's a question of customizability. By pushing this change, and making the left side bar unhideable, they basically stuck a middle finger to all their users and forced them to go along with it. The new functionality is not worth the bing-like layout, and while I don't think they'll lose marketshare, there certainly are people (myself included) who feel like making a switch from being underhanded like this.

  • Jules

    It's a shame the Google dictionary link has gone for search terms you entered, was rather useful.

  • alex marin keel

    i hate it new look sucks!! give us the old google

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      I LOVE the new Google look...

  • sandy jay

    Not a fan. I really want the old format back.

  • daliup

    I hate the new look. It's too packed. I love how you used to be able to search for something and you get a nice, clean, uncluttered result on my screen, now - on my first search I was like, what search engine am I using?! Is it yahoo, or what other, OLD-style-layout search engine am I using?! Have they gone back years ago and copied some old, cluttered search engine layout?! I hated the new look, and still hate it. First time I used it, it made me want to look for a new search engine.

    It's nice to have all those filters/options, but they are in the wrong place! The layout is absolutelly HORRIBLE. It's not bad layout design, it's HORRIBLE layout design.

    I want an option to use classic google.

  • Jasmine

    The new layout is annoying. If I wanted a layout that looks like BING, i would have used Bing! Please bring back the old google search results! This is annoying!

  • Will Hunting

    I hate it! It sucks! So much wasted space and not an improvement. The previous -/+ option for the sidebar was intuitive and fit the overall simplicity of the design.

    But since some people like it, Google should have an option to disable it. Hence the previous -/+ option.

    It's a step backward and hopefully will not be the beginning of the end for google.

  • anugrah

    hate new google.. want old google back

  • mike a

    i hate it. might as well use bing now if its the same. I came to google cause i liked it. no more.

  • http://www.adamstrange.com adam strange

    with more people going to 16x9 monitors, why make a layout that restricts the results page width? LAME!!!!! i'm selling my google stock soon. there is a kid in a dorm somewhere ready to fix this huge mistake.

  • ‘lk;jhgf

    What's with tech companies going communistic and copying each other? Google doesn't need to copy lesser sites like facebook (horrible layout), myspace (bad layout), digg (average layout) but it has copied these bad examples and done what no one could ever predict which is to pummel their own websites, youtube and google.com. Well done google, try getting outside the office once in a while morons.

  • Rick

    hate it........Please give us back classic view option....PLEASE

  • Alley

    I hate it!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Google has an address for their old design still - http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=all

  • John

    Didn't anyone at Google remember what happened to new Coke? No changes were needed. This change is not making Google better.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      but is it making them more money....?

  • Adam McCarthy-Brown

    I wish I could find a way to contact google and make them stop! I just got used to youtubes new layout, I still hate it but I can tolerate, BUT I HATE BING and if google continues to copy them I will be so pissed!!!

  • jhkl

    I hate this :/. I think I'm going to use a new search engine. However thats an inconvenience too cos I use gmail so much T___T

  • Hamman Samuel

    That's not fair to assume that Google didn't rip off Bing's concepts! What if Bing changed its look to Google, or Hotmail started looking like GMail? You wouldn't give Microsoft the benefit of doubt

  • Chris

    I really, really HATE the new layout.

  • Not again

    Awful interface. They took a beautiful, simple, clean interface and made it look cluttered. Absolutely can't stand it. If I wanted to search using Bing, I'd use Bing. What really irks me is that users who prefer the simpler interface are given no option. Sad......

  • MISSIRIS

    PLEASE RESTORE OUTLINE ON THE SEARCH BOX--I AM NEARLY BLIND AND FIND IT AN OBSTACLE TO LOCATE

  • Emily

    I hate the new look also. I refreshed the page several times when I first saw it, and then sighed in dismay when it wouldn't change. The left filters, while helpful to some, are just space consuming and annoying to me. I don't get why these things weren't kept under the Advanced Search options. I never use Advanced Search, save in extreme situations, but I know other people who always use it. Personally, I just want to type in a search and get my results as fast as possible with minimal hassle. To me, it's easier and more user-friendly to type something in, glance at results, and then just alter the search query if I didn't get what I wanted the first time, then mess around with all this ugly, space-eating side bar crap. Leave the filtering options where they belong: under Advanced Search. Or, just put a checkbox at the top that can show and hide this left sidebar. That would really be convenient. Then you would only have to look at that stuff when you actually, oh, I don't know, needed it.

  • dashesy

    I changed my homepage after 20 years to something other than google!
    I know there is a hack to hide it, but then I am already using another script to stop google redirecting my search results to its servers just to be able to see the link in a single "right click". I am done, no more addons to fix their mess.
    I am trying other search engines, yahoo is too bloated, I tried dogpile but it did not have enough results. Ask.com had stupid pictures all around, and Bing too has an annoying left side bar. But what the hell, since google is copying Bing, I'd rather use the original one.

    Bing welcome to my homepage!

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    Interesting - Here is what Ive found out, a week after the update.... It appears that many many sites, including ReelSEO - have seen significant drops in organic referral traffic from Google search results pages from 5/10 on... Clearly a result of this redesign. - Either a result of less people using Google (less likely) - or the change is really helping drive more traffic and $ to Google products (much much more likely)... Honestly - is anyone naive enough to really think that Google isnt after the $$$$$ as priority #1? Guess we will wait and see.... Clearly I could do some work in speeding up the site and Im sure that wouldnt hurt. However, it may be worthwhile to spend some time focused outside of Google - more-so to Bing, facebook, etc... What do you think Jeremy? Want to research and write about how to optimize for Bing - how to optimize for yahoo, etc...? haha

  • I heart change

    I use google all the time and didn't actually notice a change. the thing i did notice was the logo looks a little nasty now, but hadn't actually noticed the new bar on the left.

    To all the haters, take your clogs and throw them in the machines!

  • Potentially Former Google User

    Well I'm one of the many people that HATE the new look due to the annoying side bar on the left and the lack of using up the whole screen! They seemed to have made columns of max width, so the hit descriptions can't go all the way to the right, and of course are interferred with by the left column's side bar.
    They should have had the side bar hidden by default so if doesn't eat up the precious screen width and reduce the number of hits one can see at one time!
    I really hate companies that are so "My way or the highway" with their customers!

    And to Quote Gil K, he has some really good points for google!:
    "In reference to the article written about this subject saying that Google would not return to its classic look, I would ask the folks at Google (if they are actually reading this) to consider this:

    When you redesign your web site, consider that more and more people are getting netbooks that have smaller and lower-resolution displays. The more stuff you cram onto the left side of the screen, or the more important content that gets pushed down on the screen when the browser window is narrow, the more ANNOYING it is to use. Imagine having to scroll the browser contents to the right (or down) EVERY SINGLE TIME SOMETHING IS DONE on that page! This is but one reason why people are annoyed.

    The other thing to consider is that not everyone lives inside a web browser window. Some of us have other applications open and to make the web browser take all the display's horizontal space is impractical. For the same reason as in the netbook case, placing unnecessary stuff on the left side of the display makes using the site plain annoying, having to scroll left and right all the time.

    I do appreciate the person who suggested this fix:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=all
    and really hope it continues to work...but why not just make the change persistent with a cookie...or even better, why not allow people who like it to turn the new stuff ON instead of forcing people to turn the unnecessary sidebar OFF."

  • Cee Jay Black

    been with google since they came on the scene, using it as my home page. BECAUSE UNCLUTTERED. so it's not so smart to take the ONE edge over MS and others and ruin it. i'm gone. i have been searching for REAL opinions on a products. with 50 hits per page, i finally stopped 56 pages "into" the search (and i'm a writer and pc user since 1985 so am expert at Search) and STILL every single hit is somebody selling product. more people are selling the products than are likely to be using it!! put the sponsored LINKS out of my way, i still see them and click if i want to. now...well, i just won't be here at all. real smart. tells me too that some big bucks are mysteriously flowing in with "deals" or Google would be all over this and at least offer a choice. so now i've been online for 2 hours, wrote this, have no answer, and have cyber-rage from writing those years anyway. it's like checking out at a store: because of greed, the clerks must ALSO do the company's "accounting" instead of taking care of customers. result is...hmm, who all thinks it takes less time to check out of a store than, say, 10 years ago. technology can help or hinder. sorry to say i see far more of the latter than the former! goodbye Google.

  • Dameon

    Hate the new look. The left side-bar is quite an eyesore.

    • Barb3818

      I totally agree Dameon! It is driving my crazy..I do NOT want the left side bar!

  • http://profiles.google.com/zorlus Savas Zorlu

    I hate the new look. It doesn't look like Google anymore

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001645896166 Aisha Arora

    I really don't like the new look of Google.....

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1733558314 Ginger Williams

    Who were the testers? Windows developers? sad... "let's take what made us successful and change it" yup, sounds like a great strategy to me, make it happen people."

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001351290814 Dennis Blackford

    I was astonished to find that such an established search engine as Google should suddenly throw away their greatness and show a basic search page. I really noticed this when I wanted 'images' and found the option has disappeared along with the other options along the top of the page. I also miss the 'Advanced Search' function and the 'UK only' search.

    Even the hated Bing is far better than Google now as it has most of the missing options.

    This site is so bad now that I am being forced to use Yahoo.

  • Marc Bass

    I do not like it. If I want to use any of those tools, I will invoke them myself!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001356175597 Nat Zacharko

    If it ain't broken DON'T fix it................reinstate what we are comfortable with please.....

  • Mel Lopez

    I've never before felt strongly enough about anything to post my comments on the web, but Google have at last succeeded! I absolutely HATE the new look Google mail. What was wrong with the old one? Seems like change for change sake?

    The old one was well laid out, clear, simple and quick. The new one has gone all "designer" with clashing primary colours, floating/hidden menus, lots of un-needed or required features. It also takes up much more screen estate.

    Who asked for a major re-vamp of the product - I didn't?

    Don't do it Google - At least give us a choice to keep the classic version - please.

    • Karen Thorpe

      Well said Mel.

  • Theodore Stephens

    One Word I must Say NETFLIX .don't fix what's not broken! Google is going to just step onto the ooooohhhhhh well we know better then our clients Wagon. WTF

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=704641842 Dorothy Fadiman

    I find Google's "new look" stark and unfriendly...far too much white space, the absence of borders leaves text floating in a barren land, with a feeling of vast emptiness, not only visually, but experientially. I feel lost instead of supported. GIVE US BACK A CLASSIC LOOK OPTION!

  • http://www.concentric.org DorothyBelle

    I find Google's "new look" stark and unfriendly...far too much white space, the absence of borders leaves text floating in a barren land, with a feeling of vast emptiness, not only visually, but experientially. I feel lost instead of supported. GIVE US BACK A CLASSIC LOOK OPTION!