Google according to several sources in the US is currently rolling out a layout change for Google Search that is moving the left sidebar to the top of the results page. The left sidebar was introduced several years ago by the company to provide users with advanced search filtering options. It was a controversial move at the time as it was one of the first major changes to a search results page that was left untouched for the most part otherwise.
Available on the sidebar are links to different product searches, e.g. video, images and maps, as well as a listing of search tools that Google visitors can make use of to define a data range for their search or filter search results by factors such as reading level or location.
Moving the sidebar to the vertical spot just above the search results can only be the first step in a bigger redesign for a number of reasons:
- The left sidebar is now displaying lots of whitespace, and we have seen in the past that Google usually has plans to later fill that whitespace with content
- The new vertical toolbar lists several links that are also available on the top of the screen on the blackbar. Search, images and maps for instance are all also displayed there.
Here is what is likely going to happen. Since Google is working on becoming the one and only stop for all things search and beyond, the company is moving additional modules on to the search pages. We have seen that with Google Knowledge Graph for instance which is displaying encyclopedic information about certain search terms on the right sidebar on the search results page.
That in turn reduces the space available for advertisement, Google's core income source. A likely scenario therefor will be that Google will move some of the ads from the right side to the space where the left sidebar was positioned before. Moving ads from the right to the left would be huge, as it would surely improve ad revenue for the company even further as advertisement would be more visible on the page.
Since the change is currently being rolled out, it may take a while before you see the change on your computer. How do you think will the final page look like when Google has completed the redesign? (via Techcrunch)