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Google's New Search Layout Test: Borrowing From Blekko & DuckDuckGo?

Danny Goodwin
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What seems to be a rather large test of a new Google search results layout caused a mixed reaction from users on Twitter and blogs over the weekend. The new looks don't seem all that new, especially if you've ever visited Blekko or DuckDuckGo, which both sport similar, though not identical, search layouts.

Google's New Looks

There are actually two new Google layouts floating around. The first layout Google is testing puts a much larger emphasis on white space between the website links and descriptions, as well as between results -- which likely is pushing down organic results further down the page, and would make it harder to rank "above the fold" and further increase the value of a top spot in Google. Google also inserts a dotted line between the organic search results. Additionally, Google's blue links to websites aren't underlined:

google-tests-search-layout-1 
Image via Mashable

Here's a version with AdWords ads:

google-search-layout-with-adwords-2
Image via PPC Blog

The second design Google is testing looks to be the same, except minus the dotted lines between the results:

google-search-layout-test2-3
Image via CNET

Google vs. Blekko & DuckDuckGo Blekko and DuckDuckGo aren't household names or even close to challenging Google or Bing for market share. However, Google's been known to borrow a few ideasfrom other search engines in its time. Perhaps these young search engines inspired Google's new designs. First, we'll compare it to DuckDuckGo:

duckduckgo-google-4

DuckDuckGo doesn't underline its links either, though there are some noticeable differences. DuckDuckGo includes a site icon beside its search results (Google doesn't) and uses the color red for its URLs (Google uses green). Google's layout also has much more white space and includes Twitter integration. And comparing to Blekko, which also doesn't underline links:

blekko-google-5

Here, the main differences are the link and URL colors, and Google uses a bit more white space, though not much more. What People Are Saying Reviews of Google's test from bloggers and users has ranged from "ugly" to "cleaner" and "less cluttered." What do you think of the new design? Let us know in the comments.


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