On Friday, Google announced a big redesign of the mobile Search experience. Some of those tweaks, like expanded use of the Google Sans font, are now being tested on the desktop Search results page.

The first change sees the search field always raised above the rest of the page. Previously, this elevation only occurred when you hovered over. Google has dropped the thin outline around the pill for a much more visually distinguished element. However, the old design is still available when you scroll down and encounter the docked top bar. 

A smaller tweak is to the search filters that appear underneath. The blue underline used to mark the current category has been ever so slightly shrunk in a change that matches the mobile redesign. 

That brings us to the biggest change: Google Sans. The company’s exclusive font is now leveraged for page names and Search controls, like the filter bar. It was previously only used for some section headers, and this expanded adoption is particularly noticeable.That said, Roboto is still there for site descriptions and other longer chunks of text.

These two big changes are not widely rolled out, but — in my case — have been persistently available over the course of several days in a manner that’s not typically associated with A/B tests. It’s also starting to appear when signed out in Incognito Mode.

In the grand scheme, the more prominent search bar and font coincides with a bigger change that Google.com has been very slowly introducing. It features a color-themed left navigation drawer that lists subtopics related to the original query to help you drill down. It’s currently restricted to queries related to COVID-19. It’s not yet rolled out to people or media content. 

Another change that Google has been A/B testing is a desktop dark theme to match the Android and iOS apps.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com