Google is constantly testing out new features in search, advertising, and products. Here's a quick rundown of four of their latest tests involving Twitter profile integration, AdWords display URL spacing, a revamped News layout, and AdSense ad variations.
Link Twitter Profile to Google Profile
Is more Twitter integration coming to Google's social search results? This screenshot shows Google asking: "Want to see which results your friends are talking about? Are you xxxx?"
Presumably, if you say "Yes, this is me," you could then connect Twitter to your Google Profile, which will then further integrate more Twitter results and personalize your search results based on your social circle.
As part of social search results, Google looks to be trying to gain user authorization to expand Twitter integration. This test was reported by the BIA/Kelsey blog.
Google has long been talking about adding social layers, and there is much speculation that we could see a project called Google Circles at Google's I/O conference in May, though Google has denied it.
AdWords Display URL Spacing
Notice the spaces between words for AdWords display URLs in this screenshot when they contain a keyword in the query, or matched to the query. In this example search for [theatre breaks], there are spaces between "break" in all three ads -- theatre breaks, London theatre break and super break.
This test was noticed by PPC Blog.
New Google News Home Page
Right now, Google News is running a small test of what it calls a "clusters" interface that tries to get more headlines "above the fold." Search Engine Roundtable posted a couple screenshots of what the new design may look like, though it hasn't been officially confirmed yet.
Here's a recent screenshot of Google News:
And the possible "clusters" redesign from two different sources:
New AdSense Ad Format
Google has confirmed that a small number of users are seeing different AdSense formats and font style, according to this WebmasterWorld thread. They look like this:
Typical AdSense Ad:
Variation 2 (centered)
Variation 3 (centered)
Heading + Text 1
Text 2 + www.example.com
According to Google:
"The variation you noticed is part of normal and ongoing testing we perform to improve our ad formats. They only run for a very short amount of time and are only shown to a very small percentage of your users.
Our engineers are always closely monitoring the results of our test, and any variations should impact only a small percentage of your impressions."