Internet users could start seeing small but noticeable differences to the way Google displays the results for their search terms.
The tech giant has confirmed to Search Engine Land that a new look is currently being trialled after a thread appeared on Reddit containing a screenshot of a slightly differently designed Google search results page.
Two of the more intricate changes are a smaller Google logo and a rounded search box instead of the current rectangular one, but the most significant difference is that the header will remain ‘sticky’, meaning that users will still be able to see the logo and what they have searched for as they scroll through the search results.
This is likely to be particularly noticeable when using Google on a mobile device, with smartphone searchers no longer needing to click through to a second page of results. Instead, they can now simply tap the ‘More results’ button at the bottom of the page. If the trial comes to fruition, it will mean mobile internet users will be able to scroll through results continuously with their search term remaining at the top of their screen.
Rounding the search box may seem like a trivial change, but it follows a trend of tech companies favouring rounded edges to sides and angles. One of the most talked about examples of this was Facebook converting profile pictures from squares into circles last year. This mimicked a change made slightly earlier in the year by social media rival Twitter, which claimed that circular profile pictures helped make it clearer to see who was tweeting what.
Though seemingly small to the casual observer, Search Engine Land describes this test as:
“..the most drastic changes in the core search product that we have seen in a long time.”
Last week also saw Google hit back at claims made by Donald Trump that it was favouring “fake news” from liberal and left-wing sources, which were followed up by a #StopTheBias hashtag from the US president. Among the claims rebutted were that former president Barack Obama’s State of the Union were promoted on the Google homepage, but this has stopped since Trump took office. Business Insider has sided with Google, using the Wayback Machine to back up its defence, and has even made a suggestion that a video tweeted by Trump to make his point may have been doctored.