Posted April 5, 2010 1:36 pm by with 1 comment

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Back in November, Google started testing a new user interface with the search option automatically displayed in the right column (first tested a year ago, added to the SERP in May, but off by default). Users are spotting that layout test again, with some new features including localization.

As Barry Schwartz reports, Sara Holoubek noticed the auto-detected localization feature:

Vanessa Fox (formerly of Google) also saw the new SERP tests. She notes several new features from the previous tests of this layout, including more customization based on the query (as well as location).

One of these changes is a box at the bottom of the left column (it sits on top of the search options, actually, and they scroll behind it). The box contains related queries—or “Not Entirely Unlike” queries.

The exact search options displayed also vary by query. Vanessa notes “For instance, a search for [skate shoes] shows the fewer/more shopping sites filter by default, whereas a search for [Obama] shows time options, wonder wheel, timeline, and page images. . . . A search for [restaurants] lists Maps as an option, but a search for [Obama] lists Videos instead.” (The “More” link will show all options.) And even the time period suggested to narrow the recent results depends on the query: “[Obama] suggests two days while [health care reform] suggest three days.”

Vanessa also noted a “Nearby” feature based on the auto-detected location, but it returned no results when she tried it, so it may be a work in progress, she says.

What do you think of the new layout features?