Report: “Google’s Latest User-Hostile Design Change Makes Ads and Search Results Look Identical”
UPDATED POST January 24, 2020 Google is Backtracking on its Controversial Desktop Search Results Redesign (via The Verge)
Did you notice a recent change to how Google search results are displayed on the desktop?
I noticed something last week — thinking there must be some kind of weird bug messing up the browser’s page rendering because suddenly everything looked similar: A homogenous sea of blue text links and favicons that, on such a large expanse of screen, come across as one block of background noise.
I found myself clicking on an ad link — rather than the organic search result I was looking for.
Now a user of Google’s search engine has — essentially — only a favicon between them and an unintended ad click. Squint or you’ll click it.
This visual trickery may be fractionally less confusing in a small screen mobile environment — where Google debuted the change last year. But on a desktop screen these favicons are truly minuscule. And where to click to get actual information starts to feel like a total lottery.
A lottery that’s being stacked in Google’s favor because confused users are likely to end up clicking more ad links than they otherwise would, meaning it cashes in at the expense of web users’ time and energy.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.