Faster Forward: Google tweaks search pages and logo

By Rob Pegoraro
Wednesday, May 5, 2010; 8:44 AM

Google's search results should look a little different today. The Mountain View, Calif., company is rolling out a redesign of its search pages that includes a freshly scrubbed version of its logo.

The most obvious change, as outlined by Google representatives in a briefing yesterday evening and explained in a company blog post, is a new column of search options that changes to reflect what sort of search you've typed. You've seen this concept in action if you clicked the "Show options..." link on most Google search-results pages--or used Microsoft's surprisingly good Bing.

But in the new implementation, you're supposed to see different categories of information in that left-hand bar. For example, a query on a current sports topic could yield icons for "Updates" (a quick way to scan relevant Twitter posts), "Blogs" and "News." Other searches might feature shortcuts for video or book lookups (note that the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Google plans to open an electronic bookstore selling Web-based editions this summer).

Below those options, you may see suggestions to refine your query or "Something different" links to point you to related information.

While you may not see these changes right now--I don't--Google says everybody should get them by the end of the day. And U.S. users of its mobile Web site should also get miniaturized versions of some of these enhancements.

The Google home page, in turn, features changes that may interest typographic nerds--the familiar logo, as seen above, is losing most of its drop-shadow effects and its tiny trademark symbol. (Trivia-question answer: Google uses a 1982-vintage font called Catull for this "wordmark.")

Google has a reputation for obsessing over details that most people don't care about, so I'll understand if you didn't notice these changes until this post. But if you did, I'd like to know what you think--and what improvements you're still waiting to see from Google.

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