Posted November 20, 2009 1:46 pm by with 1 comment

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Search Engine Land talks to Marissa Mayer about Google testing a new search interface among a select few users. The new interface uses a left-hand pane to display search options—but instead of being off by default, with a link to turn on the pane, the new search options will be on permanently, and Google will lose the top blue bar over its results.

Other options, including results from other Google properties (Images, News, Maps, Books) will join the left-hand panel. Search Engine Land has screenshots of the news options test:

Meanwhile, as a refresher, here’s the present Search Options (first tested a year ago, added to the SERP in May):

In the new screenshot, sitelinks are also homogenized—rather than appearing inconsistently (at any position, indented or on a single line, or possibly not at all), they appear in this test on the first two results as a single line.

So the new layout is pretty cool—it standardizes many things that weren’t, it puts many popular options all together, and it predicts what category of results you want (images, video, etc., though that may or not work out for you). But is it just me (no, because Matt McGee said this, too) or does this look a little familiar?

bing 3 col

yahoo 3 col

Mayer suggests that not only is a three-column layout becoming a default in search engine results pages, but it’s also a “universal truth.” (Kind of like using the magical 28 words on the home page?)

In other news: Mayer says the fading homepage has slowed users down.

  • Oh my God, it looks so much like one of those ‘Made for Adsense’ pages..