10 Reasons to Hate Google's New Search Design

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-08 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Google has unleashed a new design for its search interface. And although the company insists it's a step up over its predecessor, some folks may be turned off by the first hints of feature clutter creeping into what had been a markedly clean UI. What's more, the new design suggests that Google has started looking over its shoulder at Microsoft Bing.

Google has launched a new search design. The main difference between the new design and the old version involves the placement of helpful links in the left sidebar. In that area, users will find the option to search in categories such as images and videos. The company also added a few cosmetic changes throughout.

But whether Web users will actually like Google's new search design is hard to say. Yes, it's a revamped design and many folks get excited about such updates, but the change is drastic. And in some ways, users might not feel quite at home with the new design of the service. That said, the same search results are there, which should help Google's chances of maintaining market share. But there will be some growing pains that could cause some to think twice about Google's service.

Let's take a look at why Web users may hate Google's new search design when they first load it up.

1. It's too different

Google search users might not like that the service's new design is so different from the previous version. That difference is so drastic that users might not be comfortable searching the first time they start using it. That's a problem. Typically, when companies revamp designs, they do so in stages, so they don't shock users. Google hasn't. It has put search options in the left sidebar, changed the look and feel of the page, and left only the prominent search box and its results the same (although showing results in a narrower area). Many users will have trouble coming to grips with it when they first surf to the new Google results page.

2. Bing, anyone?

Before we go any further, surf over to Bing.com, evaluate the page and then check out the new Google search. Notice any similarities? I thought so. The new Google search looks amazingly similar to Bing, complete with the navigation links to the left of the search results, the search box atop the page and ads to the right. It's entirely possible that the similarities are coincidental, since Google has been testing the design for months, but that seems rather unlikely. In either case, having such a similar design is a problem. If users really wanted to use a Bing-like search engine, they would have already switched to Microsoft's service. Users like Google for what it is-simple and useful. They don't want it to be like other search engines.

3. The left sidebar is out of place

As mentioned above, the major difference between Google's previous search design and its new version is the placement of its left sidebar. Over time, users might find that to be a helpful companion as they search. But at first glance, it seems rather out of place. Prior to the new design, those options were tucked away on results pages, available only to those who wanted them. Now, they're in the face of the user, practically inviting them to get lost in results. Adding that left sidebar is unlike Google.

4. Don't fix what isn't broken

Customers might be wondering why Google is attempting to fix a service that wasn't broken in the first place. Yes, Google search might have felt like a slightly outdated search engine when compared with Bing, but it worked. And based on its market-share numbers, it was appealing to people. Users don't take kindly to companies overhauling products that, in their minds, work just fine. For the first time, Google has taken a major risk. And unfortunately it did so with its core product.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel