Google has finally seen the demand for testing out their experimental interfaces that are always popping up. Now they have put several of the experimental interfaces on one page for users to try out: Google Experimental. Right now they only have four new layouts available: timeline/map view, keyboard shortcuts, left-hand search navigation, and right-hand contextual search navigation.

To get started using one of those layouts just click an example query that they present in each section. You’ll then be taken to a live search page, such as this one for the timeline view:

Google Timeline

If you really like any of the experimental searches you can use them in your browser by following these instructions. Of course, the other thing Google added to all of the layouts being tested is a prominent link to “send feedback,” which I think is a good idea. Actually, I think they should start a poll asking users what they think should end up in the Google search interface. 

Going beyond just the look of the search results, Google is also changing some of the content that appears while searching. They are now moving to a Universal Search that will put videos, images, news, maps, books, and websites all intertwined on the same search results page:

Google’s vision for universal search is to ultimately search across all its content sources, compare and rank all the information in real time, and deliver a single, integrated set of search results that offers users precisely what they are looking for. Beginning today, the company will incorporate information from a variety of previously separate sources – including videos, images, news, maps, books, and websites – into a single set of results. At first, universal search results may be subtle. Over time users will recognize additional types of content integrated into their search results as the company advances toward delivering a truly comprehensive search experience.

For example, a user searching for information on the Star Wars character Darth Vader is likely interested in all the information related to the character and the actor – not just web pages that mention the movie. Google will now deliver a single set of blended search results that include a humorous parody of the movie, images of the Darth Vader character, news reports on the latest Lucas film, as well as websites focused on the actor James Earl Jones – all ranked in order of relevance to the query. Users no longer have to visit several different Google search properties to find such a wide array of information on the topic.

Along with the Universal Search they are changing the way the search results will look, and it went live for us just moments ago. It is close to what we previously saw:

Google's New Layout

In the example search I did above, you will notice links to books, blogs, groups, news and images below the search box. Those links dynamically appear and disappear based upon the content that you are searching for. That way only the most relevant links will appear for users.

I’m not sure if anymore Google goodness is in store for us this week, but I’m really liking what I see. What do you think?

Source: Google Press Release