Google Mimics Bing in New Search Layout
Google today rolled out a handy navigation panel for its search homepage to offer "faster and more powerful tools for smarter searching."
While none of these features are really new, the navigation panel brings Google's search tools out of hiding from "Options" and puts them front and left, duplicating the layout of rival Microsoft search engine Bing.
The new navigation serves up types of content identified by icons that Google determines are the most relevant to a particular search. This design is supposed to make it easier for users to zero in on the type of results they seek like news, images or books. Google has a short list of four types, but users can select "more" to see all types available, including images, maps and shopping.
Google has also moved tools that were previously only offered on its advanced search options page to its home page. For example, the related searches, wonder wheel, and timeline options are now accessible from the new panel. Google says this makes it easier to "slice and dice" search results. For instance, searchers can choose to see results on a timeline or restrict their results to the past 24 hours. Google also tempts searchers with "something different" that offers up a list of related subjects for further exploration.
Google's new format represents a shift from its primarily text-based listings to multimedia groupings, a reflection of the growing diversity of content across the Internet itself, and one that Microsoft's Bing embraced since its inception.
Google is by far and away the most frequently used search engine, capturing more than 70 percent of the market. Yahoo Search and Bing remain in second and third place with 14.9 percent and 9.43 percent respectively, reported by tracking firm Experian Hitwise for the four weeks ending May 1, 2010.
The new interface begins rolling out today globally across 37 languages. Google is also launching a mobile version with similar navigation options. At this time it is available for U.S. iPhone and Android based devices in English.