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Google Responds to Criticism Regarding Desktop Search Changes

Google has issued an official statement in response to widespread criticism of its recent changes to desktop search results.

Last week, Google updated the look of paid and organic search results on desktop. The most noticeable changes include favicons next to desktop search results, and a plain black “Ad” label next to paid results.

For reference, here is the new look of desktop search results:

And here is the old version:

Google claims the new “Ad” label is more prominent, though many would argue (and have argued) it makes paid results virtually indistinguishable from organic results.

Google’s Response

Google is listening to the feedback and says, starting today, it will begin experimenting with new placements for favicons.

During the experiment, which is said to last several weeks, some users will not see favicons at all and others will see favicons in different placements.

Google’s full statement on the matter is as follows:

“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. 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. Web publishers have also told us they like having their brand iconography on the search results page. While early tests for desktop were positive, we are always incorporating feedback from our users. We are experimenting with a change to the current desktop favicons, and will continue to iterate on the design over time.”

Note that there’s no mention of any changes to the “more prominent” black Ad label. Presumably, the new label will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google Responds to Criticism Regarding Desktop Search Changes

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