Internet Security Blog - Hackology

Google Search Changes in Last 5 Year

Above you can see a Google search result page from 2004, and one from now, 2009. What are some of the design changes?

  • The ad box on top changed its background color from blue to yellow. Also, the clickable area in the link got restricted to just the link, and not the full box.
  • The logo got smaller. The search box and search button on the other hand got bigger.
  • The blue bar changed its color and is brighter now. Google didn’t change it at once, but took an intermediate blue step, perhaps to make the change less noticeable.
  • The result width is restricted to a maximum. Previously, on very large screens the page filled the whole width, and ads were positioned on the far right.
  • The phrase “Similar pages” has been shortened to just “Similar”.
  • The category label, reading “Web”, is using a smaller font.
  • Google does not show the file size anymore for every page.
  • There’s a “Show options…” link on top. There’s plenty of smaller changes for specific results, too, like the different oneboxes Google added in the meantime, or features like sitelinks, immediate spelling-corrected results and more.
  • The text “Sponsored links” at the top of the right hand ad section is left-aligned, not centered.
  • The link to the preferences to the right of the search button is gone; you can now access the search settings via the top link.
  • The link to the definitions of your search words, shown in the blue bar to the right, is pointing to instead of

(Many of the changes not pointed out here are more structural in nature, like indexing speed – which increased a lot –, indexing depth, as well as ranking approaches, which are nevertheless very important factors in how well a search result answers the user query in comparison to other competing engines.)

To a casual user many of these changes may be subtle to the point of being unnoticeable. Web sites often seem to have a natural tendency to change too much for their own good, but the Google result pages have been pretty loyal to their users. Several years ago  man people shifted to Google, They did so because AltaVista changed around all the time, and often not for the better – the site was suffering from lost focus on search, becoming a typical portal and even showing pop ups. Google may keep this lesson in mind whenever they apply an iterative change to their homepage or results. Still, over time, things do get shuffled around here and there, as the past years show. wonder what a Google result page will look like in 2020?


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