Google tests its interface all the time and maybe we should not get too excited every time time it happens. That said; a sign that Google are themselves increasingly interested in a proposed re-design tweak is if the number of people experiment increases. That might be the case for the new “search whitespace” header.
Yesterday, Dave Naylor blogged about the new header, noting how it adds the word “search” and throws in some extra whitespace. I could not replicate that yesterday, but I can today. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that the extra search header expands across a number of other Google engines, beyond Web Search – such as Images Search.
Old Search Interface
Experimental Search Interface
The question is – why would Google do this?
One theory is that it adds even greater importance to the top of the page. In fact, Google added top of page estimates little more than a week ago to AdWords.
As Google continues to experiment with the layout of its search result the search engine gives digital marketers even more reason to ensure both their organic and paid ads are optimised for attention and click through. Features like RDFa or microformat markup to quality for snippet enhancements are a good example of modern SEO.
The word “search” is also interesting. It actually adds context to the left hand column which normally reads “Everything, Images, Maps, Videos, News, Shopping and More” – as seen in the screen grabs above. I wonder Google+ has had any influence on this. Google+ has a similar column but rather than search options there are social options.
What do you think? Are we likely to see this new “search header” roll out across Google?