Google announced Friday it will begin testing additional variations in desktop search based on early feedback from users around the favicon and black ad label rollouts.
The idea is to bring a modern look to desktop search. "We're dedicated to improving the desktop experience for Search, and as part of our efforts we rolled out a new design last week, mirroring the design that we’ve had for many months on mobile,” wrote a Google spokesperson to Search Marketing Daily. “The design has been well received by users on mobile screens, as it helps people more quickly see where information is coming from and they can see a prominent bolded ad label at the top.”
The new look on mobile launched in May 2019, in an effort to guide users through information on the web. The name of the website and its icon serves up at the top of the search results to help anchor each query search result.
Web publishers told Google they like having their brand iconography on the search results page. The Google spokesperson said the company got lots of feedback from different sources, including direct channels. And while early tests for desktop were positive, Google always incorporates feedback from its users.
When asked whether this layout promotes unintentional click-throughs, the spokesperson said that once the feature launches to all users, Google might get a better sense of whether that is occurring.
Earlier this week, media outlets that began noticing the change said the new layout blurs the lines between organic search results and paid-search ads.
While the ads are clearly labeled, it does mean that the person who is searching takes a moment to read the URL to verify whether the result is an ad or content link, to an extent.