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Google (again) testing new interface look: less clutter (and try yourself)

22 August 2011 BY

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Google is constantly looking for ways to improve their UI. In the past year the chances to the Google result pages (SERPS) have been immense. And it looks like we can be expecting some new changes soon. Again new tests have been found. This time its an ‘icon-less’ test.

In the test Google has gotten rid off all the icons on the result pages. Icons in the left sidebar and the +1 icon, the cached page link and the preview icon are all gone. That makes for a ‘cleaner’ result page. What is interesting is that you might be able to ‘opt-in’ on this test.

The tests were spotted by Tecno-net who made the video below. What we can see is that the test not just leaves out the icons. With the icons gone, Google added other functionalities. For example if you mouse over a search result, Google shows an Instant Preview icon which is bigger than before. The In the test the ‘sticky’ bar on the top and the sticky sidebar are also present, indicating that we can be expecting those really soon.

Watch On YouTube

Will this be the new design?

If Google really will go through with this remains to be seen and is probably dependent on the outcome of the tests. It seems very much like tests which are leading up to the infinite scrolling which has been seen before in a test. But whether Google likes the +1-button to be behind the preview button remains to be seen. It will take people longer to find it and people will have to be using the preview button more, something which is not done very much so far. And don’t forget that the preview button goes over the ads, will that make the final cut?

Try Google’s test yourself

Techno-net also found that in this particular test for some it is possible to opt-in on the test. By changing the cookie you might see the new search test appear (doesn’t work all the time!).

Here is how to change the cookie in Chrome:

1. Install “Edit this Cookie”, a cookie manager for Chrome.

2. Go to Google’s homepage and click the yellow cookie icon from Chrome’s toolbar.

3. Find the line that starts with NID, click it, select the value (Ctrl-A or Command-A for Mac), delete it, paste the following value (use Ctrl-V or Command-V for Mac) and click “Submit cookie changes”:


In Firefox:

1. Install Cookies Manager+ and restart the browser.

2. Go to Google’s homepage.

3. Press Alt-T and select “Cookies Manager+”. You’ll also find the option in the “Web Developer” item of Firefox’s unified menu.

4. Search for and find the entry named “NID”. If you’re not in the US and you use a different Google domain, search for your domain (for example: in the UK).

5. Click “edit” and replace the content with:


If you select “Set as readonly” the new interface doesn’t stop working.

(From Google Operating System)


Bas van den Beld is a speaker, trainer and online marketing strategist. Bas is the founder of -- You can hire Bas to speak, train or consult.
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