Google testing new look for search results

Critics are slamming a test version of Google's search results that offer more white space and fewer results.

Google users are griping over what appears to be a new sparse layout for Google search results being tested by the search giant. Google says it is doing what's sometimes called a "bucket test" - experimenting with changes by only making them visible to some users. Google's search pages that are a part of this test show a lot more white space, and inevitably, fewer search results per page.

In addition to more spacing between each result and line of text, the familiar blue links are no longer underlined, and each item is now separated by a dotted line in the new design. The color scheme also seems a bit softer and greener, overall.

Testing from my location in the Mountain time zone early Sunday didn't reveal any changes in the results, but a number of Twitter users have posted screen shots from around the world.

The redesign has provoked the (occasionally profanity-laced) ire of many users on Twitter and elsewhere on the Web, with a critic at TechCrunch declaring it "ugly."

I suspect the aim of the new design may be about more than just aesthetics, and may have to do with integration of new features - like folding in Voice Search, which Google recently began testing - or perhaps new ads. Either way, it's likely to take some getting used to, but not very likely to drive users to Bing or elsewhere.

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Eric Mack

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