The web is rife with discussion about Google’s new results page. Google has been testing it’s new-look page over the weekend, making it visible to a small number of select users.

The new design, as you will see below, is a lot cleaner than Google’s current results page. There’s a huge amount of white space, the spacing between each result has increased, gone are the underlined blue links, each result is seperated by a feint dotted line and the colour scheme is a little easier on the eye.

If Apple did SERPs:

google-new-design

Image courtesy of TwitPic, @chanian (Twitter engineer)

Pretty as it may be, a quick scan of the social web revealed it’s not going down too well with the masses, nor with the major tech press. “Ugly” seems to be a common criticism.

There’s also been some interesting discussion in various tech forums with designers and tech-bods locking horns in the time old form vs. function debate. One commenter raised the a good argument –  that “the new design is built to appease the general public as apposed to your power-users”. Perhaps so?

At first glance we must admit, we like the design, it’s given Google a certain ‘freshness’ that it’s been lacking.

However, put aesthetics aside for a second and enthusiasm soon turns to mild concern. Based on our first impressions and information gathered from general web chatter, here’s why;

  • News results appear to have less emphasis than they do currently. This seems odd considering all of Google’s recent noise about the importance of delivering fresh & original content to it’s users
  • The amount of space allocated to each search result ultimately means less results per page
  • Fewer organic results shown above the fold
  • Less information on each page means more scrolling for the user. Making the user work harder for information is a big step backwards in user experience, don’t you think?
  • Google seems to have ditched the ‘cached’ and ‘similar’ links tools that currently appear next to the link result. Evidently, a lot of people are not happy about this

That said, Google is only ‘testing’ the new page design, so don’t fire up Bing just yet.

We’ve already witnessed some major changes at Google in 2011. With the dust from Panda far from settled, and news of Voice search on the horizon, is Google moving too fast?