I also got hold of a sprites image that looks like it’s used for this prototype (a sprite image is referenced by a stylesheet, and quicker to transmit because it only needs to be downloaded once, and can then be cropped as needed for different icons on the client side). Have a look, you can see the new Google results page logo and some of the pane icons, among other things:
If Google doesn’t switch its place, this image is hosted at google.com/images/srpr/nav_logo3w.png
If this is ever rolled out for everyone – right now, around 1 - 3% are going to see it, Search Engine Land says – it’s going to be a pretty major design step. Right now, the left hand pane still needs to be manually expanded, which probably means many people ignore it. I guess the question for the new harder-to-ignore pane will be whether it’ll start to get in your way or not. For many queries, we may just be looking for the best website out there, or a quick bit of textual information; for other queries, we may well like to have richer results. Right now, Google already automatically sometimes shows richer results and sometimes more text based ones – the “universal search” approach, though Google’s Marissa Mayer finds it can cause unexpected “Jazz" style result design that slows searchers down. I guess for the new constant sidebar there’s both the chance that it causes more organization, or more clutter. If any of you stumbles upon this prototype, please let me know via email of the contents of the Google.com cookie named PREF so we can reproduce the test and have a try ourselves!
>> More posts