We know that Google is constantly testing new stuff. Whether it is a new feature or a new design, they always test ‘in the wild’, meaning that actual users get the new features or design to see how they respond. Now a new test has shown up, one which is mainly about the User Interface, the design of the search result page. In particular the navigational part. In this design the sidebar is completely gone and we see a new type of top navigation.
The biggest change which this test shows is the navigation being moved from the left to a top navigation, which is placed below the search bar, above the results. The navigation placed there is the same one as we now have on the left, but it also has dropdowns for certain menus like “more” and “Search Tools”. It makes it possible to make quick filter changes to your search, much quicker than you can with the navigation on the left. It however also can be confusing with another navigation below the already existing black navigation on top.
The design test indicates that it might be a test for search results specifically for tablets. The navigation on the left just doesn’t do it on a tablet, there top navigation makes much more sense. The dropdowns do not always work that well on tablets however. See the test: