Google to Rethink New Search Redesign Following Backlash

Posted on January 24, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 16 Comments

Earlier this month, Google introduced a major change to the search results design. The company brought the changes it made to search results on mobile to the desktop this month, but the change wasn’t well-received by users at all.

With the new design, Google introduced favicons next to site addresses in the search results, making them harder to distinguish from ads within search results. The change was heavily criticised as it made it harder to differentiate between ads and actual search results, which — as you would expect — annoyed a lot of people.

Following the backlash, Google is now going to rethink the new design. The company today announced that it’s going to experiment with new placements for favicons. “Over the coming weeks, while we test, some might not see favicons while some might see them in different placements as we look to bring a modern look to desktop,” said Google.

The company claims that the new design was well received by users on mobile screens, and web publishers also liked having their favicons on search results. Results from early tests on desktops were also apparently positive. “We are experimenting with a change to the current desktop favicons, and will continue to iterate on the design over time,” Google tweeted. It’s not clear exactly when these new placements will go live, but for now, Google seems to have backtracked on its previous decisions.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Google to Rethink New Search Redesign Following Backlash”

  1. wbhite

    I'm certain they did it because it made it hard to distinguish results from ads. If you're using a common ad blocker, it will often complain when you click the first link (ad) so you go back (or learn) to go down a couple of links to find the direct link to your website. They know that affects clicks and revenue.

  2. hrlngrv

    Modern is becoming the new millennia's new & improved!

  3. Stooks

    I do not use Google search anymore but my wife does. About a week ago she said what happened to my Google search and how do I fix it. It is horrible.

  4. MikeGalos

    Gee, what a surprise. An ad broker made an "experiment" that makes it more likely to click on their customer's ads.


    Did anybody seriously think after years of Google doing versions of this one web page product that it wasn't intentional?

  5. jim_vernon

    Hmm. I noticed this and actually thought to myself, "Oh, they added a bolded 'Ad' next to the ads. That makes it more obvious what the ads are." I guess I'm alone there.

  6. ph-sth

    I don't actually use Google that often for search, but did this week for some reason and came across this design for the first time. I actually said out loud, "When did Google become completely unreadable?" when presented with my results.

  7. datameister

    They are obviously wanting it to be vague. Otherwise they would just put box around the add and prominently label it as an add. Like they did back in the early days.

  8. red.radar

    If I was a google ad sense customer I would be ill. Essentially if a customer is searching for me directly and clicks the ad instead of the link I would have to pay for the click.


    it’s sneaky

    • wright_is

      In reply to red.radar:

      Yes, but think of the poor Google shareholders, what will they do if the advertising revenues fall?

      You, Sir, are not a team player! /sarcasm

      Too little, too late for me. I moved away from Google a long time ago, when their relevant search result quality dropped dramatically. I'd search for "device problem code 12345" or "handbook for device" and the first 20 search results would be for shopping sites or adverts for the product. If I'm searching for a specific problem, chances are, I've already bought the blasted thing and I am probably in no good mood to go and buy another one!

      Amazon is exactly the same, you buy something and for the next 6 months, you get bombarded to buy another one! We bought a dishwasher last year, through Amazon, and their newsletter and the start page were suggesting different dishwashers for several months afterwards; how many kitchens do they think my house has!?!

      • red.radar

        In reply to wright_is:

        You bring up an interesting point. Google has been flooded un-relevant information because of SEO farms.


        I love to see what the true return on investment of digital advertising is. I can't imagine General Search is profitable to pay for.

  9. wright_is

    These days, Google is an advertising company first and foremost, that is where their revenue comes from, "search", like many of its consumer services, is a loss-leader, without the advertising revenue generated through the search results page, search would fail as a business model.

    The problem is, they are letting it intrude too much and it is trying to make it less and less transparent to try and con people into clicking more revenue generating links.

  10. rm

    Just use another search provider like Bing, DuckDuckGo, or OneSearch (or others). To me, Google lost it's way 10 years ago and still is getting worse in so many ways. They are now trying to make people believe they care about privacy . . .

  11. dougkinzinger

    Hated it the first time I saw it. Thought it was entirely unnecessary and further clutters up what used to be a clean search engine.

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