Google Testing Format Changes

Google seems to be testing multiple new results page format changes. Here’s a screenshot of a recent search I did:

(click image to enlarge)

Let’s count the tweaks. First, there a map in the upper-right corner. I have seen this before in the past few days and weeks. But, for the first time today I noticed that this map remains in place in the upper-right portion of the screen even when you scroll the page down (and back up again).

However, just below the map, where the ads begin, the text ‘Sponsored Links’ has been replaced with ‘Ads’. Is this a sign from Google that future ads will be more than just ‘links’? Just an attempt to be clearer as to what those listings are? Or maybe an effort to spare bandwidth? I’m not certain at this point.

One of the ads contains an address. Again, I’ve seen this before, but it’s still a relatively new feature by Google.

On the left-hand side, you might be able to see that the organic listings are spaced a little further apart than they normally are, giving a little more white space between listings. The length of the black text snippets seems to be reduced as well.

And, starting recently, Google has been giving a small blue triangle that moves between listings if the arrow keys are pushing, making it a little easier to navigate between results.

And, just below the 4th organic listing, there are listings taken from the map, including a photo, map pin, address, phone number, reviews and link to a ‘Place page’.

Even though this search was done on a laptop, since Google Instant is now on mobile devices, it looks to me like Google is testing changes to make their results format friendlier for mobile devices too.

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