Google Makes Drastic Change To User Interface, Many Hate It

May 6, 2010 • 8:33 am | comments (21) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Google launched a new design for their search interface and it is also live on the mobile interface. There is no way for me to do a better post on the new Google UI than Danny Sullivan, so instead of trying, just go read what he wrote at Search Engine Land. When you are done, come back here to here the complaints in the forums. There is also tons and tons of articles on this, just see Techmeme.

We nicknamed this interface the Jazz interface and I doubt Google liked it. They have been testing it since November 2009 and slowly rolled it out to more and more users over time. They even made slight updates to the user interface over time.

The thing is, those vocal in the forums hate the design. The issue with that is that Google knows best, they really do. There is no way Google would have launched this new design without testing it to death. And by testing, I mean they run statistical tests to see if it works better than the previous design. So all those complaints in the forum, they are wrong. There are hundreds of threads, so I will only share some of them. We have threads at Google Web Search Help, Google Blogoscoped Forums, WebmasterWorldand others.

Many are saying Google copied Bing. I'll say those people don't know what they are talking about. Again, Danny has a nice recap of who is copying who but who did the three-pane UI first, which one of the major search engines? Ask did under Jim Lanzone, then Yahoo and Bing and now Google. I won't get more into this, just read what Danny wrote.

Here is a video of the new design:

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help, Google Blogoscoped Forums and WebmasterWorld.

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05/06/2010 01:09 pm

Before you got to the end I was going to say, "Ask 3D anyone?" Although at the time, the right hand pane wasn't for ads, but for further info. Personally I preferred that to any other display. Much better than the blended results we now get from Google.

Bit Doze

05/06/2010 01:50 pm

Personally I like this change. I think it was time for a change.


05/06/2010 02:40 pm

"So all those complaints in the forum, they are wrong" You sound like Hitler, Barry! That is a lot of people you are saying are wrong. Surely if someone does not like something that is their opinion. Long live democracy!

Barry Schwartz

05/06/2010 02:46 pm

Pete, I was actually being sarcastic. I should of added a ;-) or something.

Chris Silver Smith

05/06/2010 03:02 pm

Um, I think "Hitler" is a bit much. As in "a nuclear bomb is a bit much". What would be more interesting would be a theory on why many forum commentators have the gut-sense that the design is bad, versus the statistical testing. I'd also like to know how it was "tested". Was use of the new features the measure of success? Or, affirmative feedback from test subjects? Or, did it actually increase searches? One could argue that making the search engine work worse would result in an increased number of searches being performed, for instance.

Michael Martinez

05/06/2010 04:11 pm

Every time I have seen this test interface come up in my search results it has made me feel crowded. I guess I can get used to it but Google should remember that one of the reasons why people switched to Google from Altavista in the first place was that Altavista crammed as much crap into its SERP design as possible.


05/06/2010 04:15 pm

iLike it.

Francis Petty

05/06/2010 07:27 pm

Hi Barry, I understand that the tests have made Google decide for this design, but I also understand those who support ASKs 2007 design in three columns because I´m not shure Google ever tried this type of design. Statistics only meausure what you tell them to ;) Do you now if they ran tests with the three columns of content as in ASK´s previous design?


05/06/2010 09:08 pm

Jazz (I'll always call it Jazz!) has been a long time coming. I'm glad to see Google finally make the jump and implement it globally. As with Facebook redesigns, the most frustrated users are always the loudest. Give it time and they'll wander off.

Peter Könemann

05/06/2010 10:21 pm

I liked it better when i had the choice of showing the left pane or not. I'm browsing on a low res screen (1280x800 seems low res these days) and what was a clean looking searchpage with still enough B(l)ing looks now overly crowded:(


05/06/2010 11:49 pm

The main problem (and maybe only): font to big for a 17" laptop screen (rezolution 1440x900). Probably is OK for a 24"-30" screen, but not for netbook or laptops.


05/07/2010 01:47 am

Oh, great it now looks more and more like Bing ;) Now I'll just wait for the next Google to arrive with a basic interface and great search results that isn't tainted with ads. Oh the good old days.


05/07/2010 07:28 am

The font in the new google search interface is too big. The user should have the option of deciding where the left toolbar goes or of closing it altogether. Also, I don't like the fact that images come up in the searches - they take up too much room.

colin mcdermott

05/07/2010 09:36 am

Au Contraire Barry - you weren't being sarcastic .. you were being ironic! And irony is very hard to detect for many! Anyways, I'm casting my vote with the "this is a big mistake" party on this one. That 'usability' woman has gone too far this time ... particularly when she drops the puk radio button from centre-stage. Yes, we know it's still there (really) - but it's 'off-camera'!

No Name

05/07/2010 03:23 pm

i hate the that the center pane width is locked. big waste of space on my 16x9 monitor. seems like the big change here is now you don't have any choice. now google has decided you always want that left window open and your browser size must always be 1200 pix across or less. i'm look for a new search engine. my google loyalty ends today.


05/08/2010 01:22 pm

I like it. But then again, I like having options. Those of us that do a lot research enjoy alternative approaches. Contrary to popular belief, we don't know everything.


05/08/2010 02:01 pm

Go to Has a good classic google interface on it. It also searches google, yahoo, ask and bing.


05/08/2010 02:03 pm

Oh, and by classic I mean no side bar and smaller text.


05/10/2010 07:52 am

Jazz or Jizz?

Ava Da Luca

11/08/2010 05:59 pm

I like the new google interface it was a slow change and it was about time they tried something a little different.


09/10/2012 12:01 pm

I hate it!!! It is difficult to use!!!!! How can I keep the old one??????

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