At the start of last week, Google introduced a new design for desktop Search that adds site favicons to every result. Some users reacted very vocally, and Google is now experimenting with new Search designs in response to the favicon backlash.
The Google Search Liaison took to Twitter this morning to respond to “feedback about the update.” This revamp was first introduced on Android and iOS last May, and Google notes how it was “well received by users on mobile screens.” Specifically, it “helps people more quickly see where information is coming from.”
On desktop, the new design — which involves a new line above the page name that features a favicon, URL, and path — has been criticized by some for making every result look like an advertisement at the expensive of organic ones. This is despite the redesign adding a black “Ad” label in the top-left corner of every item. Despite the Search favicon backlash, Google today notes that “early tests for desktop were positive.”
In response to user feedback, Google is going to “experiment with new placements for favicons.” A/B tests will involve web results that move favicons around, and others that forgo them entirely — like before. These experiments are already in effect with one design where the Ad label remains, but the favicon is removed.
Our experimenting will begin today. Over the coming weeks, while we test, some might not see favicons while some might see them in different placements as we look to bring a modern look to desktop.
According to the company today, web publishers “like having their brand iconography on the search results page.” Google’s goal is to create a “modern” desktop Search experience, and previously noted how site icons help “anchor each result, so you can more easily scan the page of results and decide what to explore next.”
Be sure to vote in our poll about whether you like or dislike the favicons in Google Search.
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