Google Tests Profile Pictures in Social Navigation Bar

Google is testing a new-look navigation bar that could offer a hint of what the company's plans are for incorporating social elements into search to compete more in Facebook's territory.

This test by Google ditches the traditional blue links in favor of a new stripe on top and a more modern look for the links to Web, Images, Videos, etc. It also inserts a picture taken from the user's Google profile and uses the person's name rather than simply listing their e-mail address:

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Could this be a glimpse of the much rumored Google+1 project being headed up by Sergey Brin? As Brin noted during the Q4 earnings call, the company has only touched "just 1 percent of the capabilities" of real-time search and social search.