Google’s most recent tweak to the search engine results page layout drops the Google +1 button from constant visibility. Searchers will now see the button when they hover over a SERP entry.
As noted by Google Operating System, the recently applied update cleans up the SERP layout by removing the +1 button from display in most of the instances it previously showed up. There are two exceptions: the on-hover visibility, where the button now pops up in its "standard" position when your cursor is position on top of almost any type of result (nested links won't get one, though); and any site you've already +1'd.
The +1 button was released in experimental form back in March and was made available to webmasters in June. The button saw wide adoption from webmasters and has since spread to a variety of Google properties, including News, Image Search, and Shopping.
The minor design update that hides the +1 button also brings us a new search preferences page which follows the look and feel that Google has been implementing on other properties. In addition to redesigns on everything from Gmail to Google Reader to YouTube, Google is making their navigation consistent between all properties.
The choice to update the preferences window and do a little bit of a clean-up on the SERP itself fits well with the recent design priorities of the company.
What else do you think Google should clear out of its SERP? What do you like, love, dislike, and hate about Google's new design philosophy? And what do you hope gets an update next? Leave us your thoughts in the comments, below.