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Friday, September 11, 2009

A Look at 5 Years of Google Result Page Changes

Above you can see a Google search result page from 2004, and one from now, 2009. What are some of the design changes?

(Many of the changes not pointed out here are more structural in nature, like indexing speed – which increased a lot –, indexing depth, as well as ranking approaches, which are nevertheless very important factors in how well a search result answers the user query in comparison to other competing engines.)

To a casual user many of these changes may be subtle to the point of being unnoticeable. Web sites often seem to have a natural tendency to change too much for their own good, but the Google result pages have been pretty loyal to their users. Several years ago when I first started using Google, I did so because AltaVista changed around all the time, and often not for the better – the site was suffering from lost focus on search, becoming a typical portal and even showing pop ups. Google may keep this lesson in mind whenever they apply an iterative change to their homepage or results. Still, over time, things do get shuffled around here and there, as the past years show. I wonder what a Google result page will look like in 2014?


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