If you are still using Google Search, you may have noticed that Google changed the design of the search results page by adding icons to results.
Google does not make changes to the company’s search results page on a large scale regularly, and when it does, it is usually backed up by data that confirms that the change is beneficial.
Previously, search results showed the page title, part of the URL, and a short description of content. The only exception to the rule have been ads placed prominently on search results pages as they featured a tiny “Ad” next to the URL.
The search change rolled out last year to mobile users but Google started the roll out for desktop systems just this week.
The change impacts how advertisement is marked on search results pages and how sites are displayed. When you run a search now, you will notice that a site’s favicon is displayed next to the URL in the top line. Below it is the page title and below the title is the description.
Google, bascially, swapped page title and URL positions and added the icon to the line depicting part of the URL in the results.
As far as ads are concerned — of which there are plenty above the fold — they use the new design as well. The color has been changed to black though and the box that surrounded the Ad text was removed as well.
Google stated on its official The Keyword blog that the refresh is designed to “better guide” Google customers “through the information available on the web”.
With this new design, a website’s branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you’re looking for.
Internet users who have monitored Google over the years may have a different answer as to why the change was made: to further push advertising revenue. With the Ad text now black and without a box around it, it may be more difficult to spot what is an ad and what is now especially since all sites now show something in the spot.
While most favicons are not text, it is certainly possible that some sites display text as the favicon. The Dutch netwspaper Algemeen Dagblad even uses AD as its favicon, albeit with a red background.
Lifehacker published a filter that you can add to uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, and other content blockers that support the blocking syntax to do away with these icons.
All you need to do is add the following filters to the custom filters list.
The filters remove the icons from Google Search to return to the much clearer look.
Google made some changes with impact to its search engine over the years. A look in our archive returned a style from 2011 that shows a sidebar on the left and results that displayed title, description, and url in that order. The company moved the sidebar to the top in 2012 and the order of results changed to title, URL, and description in that year.
Now Y0u: what is your take on the change? Do you still use Google?