At the Searchology press event today at the Googleplex, Google showed off its past, present and future. It made a few big announcements that will be of interest to search marketers, and changes to its search that users will begin to see today.
The first is the launch of universal search results, meaning a query from Google.com will now show results from Google's vertical search engines, including images, videos, news, maps, blogs, and books. Instead of putting these various results in a set position on the page, Google will rank all types of results based on the query. A user will still have the option of segmenting results based on media type, with tabs at the top of the search results for each type.
The next announcement was the addition of a universal navigation bar to all pages of Google, from home page to search results to Gmail and Google Calendar. The navigation will change based on the page you're on, so on a search results page, the navigation shown might include news and blog search, while the navigation on Gmail might include Google Calendar and Apps.
Finally, Google announced Google Experimental, where users can opt in to various tests that Google is doing. It will still conduct random tests with users, but interested parties can now see what those tests look like, without having to wait to be selected for the tests themselves.