Google today announced that Search is getting a fresh coat of paint. In the next few days, Google Search will bring branding “front and center” by highlighting the name of websites and their icons at the top of results cards. Meanwhile, web addresses within product and service ads in Search will gain a bold label to help users “quickly identify” sponsored content.
The bold label replaces the green outlined label that Google introduced in 2017, and it’s been in testing for several months. Google senior interaction designer Jamie Lee said that it and the other changes — which will roll out first on mobile — will afford the Search team flexibility to add more action buttons and previews to results cards in the future.
“Our goal with Search always has been to help people quickly and easily find the information that they’re looking for,” wrote Lee in a blog post. “Over the years, the amount and format of information available on the web has changed drastically … As we continue our ongoing efforts to improve Search and provide a modern and helpful experience, today we’re [working on] a visual refresh … to better guide you through the information available on the web.”
Google told Search Engine Land that during experiments, a “majority” of users found it easier to identify websites and more than two-thirds said it was easier to scan results more quickly.
Google has made lots of tweaks to Search in recent months as it prioritizes interactive, actionable content over web links.
At the Mountain View company’s AMP Conf conference in Japan earlier this year, Google revealed that AMP Stories, an open source library that enables publishers to build web-based, Snapchat-like flipbooks with slick graphics and animations, will soon get “dedicated placement” in Search for specific categories like travel, gaming, fashion, recipes, movies, and TV shows.
Meanwhile, at Google’s annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, the company unveiled a refresh of Search on mobile, with navigable 3D models in augmented reality (AR), a robust news recommendation tool called Full Coverage, and podcast management. It also debuted Mini-apps, which Google describes as a “new capability” on Search and Google Assistant that delivers an interactive flow and live content across surfaces.
In decidedly less thrilling news, Google recently revealed that it will begin featuring ads in Discover, a stream of contextual topic headings and cards on the Google app for Android, in the coming months.