Is Google up to Something?

Published in Search Engines on Friday, July 1st, 2005

I had to look twice, then three times, shake my head and then check from another computer. Sure enough, it was true - it was the old version!!

While following up some back links for a site today, I clicked on a google search and found a little surprise!

What's it all about?

Probably nothing? Maybe something? Does it have to do with those 'biw' values that have been popping up in the request variables of googles' search urls (reportedly screen width)?

They always seem to be up to something, this just came as a bit of a surprise....

Comments and Feedback

I happened to see the same thing. Since I didn't know that it was the old version the only thing I thought was: "Uhm... yeah... it's Google".

I've seen this about every 7-10 searches...

Usually when I see this from any given site it means they are upgrading/adding/changing something behind the scenes or in their code. Who knows though, as I have seen this with Google before and it just turned out to be nothing.

Is it because the one screenshot is (international) and the other the standard search. they may be testing out different interfaces on those sites or maybe their different for a reason?

Blake: do you really think they would use location-sensitive design? Why use an outdated version for spanish or mexican users?

Err this is not really new, I can't remember how long ago it is that I have seen your OLD pic as the google interface. I generally use but I did check the .com site and that design is there.

Strange that you've been seeing the old design for so long

Why use an outdated version for spanish or mexican users?

Because we are in the third world, who would care about us anyway ;)

Ditto, I've seen a couple of different Google layouts in the past couple of days.
Personally, I liked the way the tabs in the old-style connected with the result body on the page, rather than some separated links above the search fields.

Hey all,

I liked the tabs of the old design as well, but I can't say that I've seen it in the wild in a long time.

Mr K, I think you are confused. I haven't been seeing the old design for 'so long', I hadn't seen it for a loong time, in fact until the day that I posted this!

It sounds like Google is trying to test out the various interfaces in their production environment without any notice to the public. This is surely intentional and is likely some sort of a test of the different user experiences.

i didn't think much of it at the time but earlier tonight i saw google results with two footers (copyright etc)

figured it was some engineer screw up - i noticed it when i did a search on a domain and got the "not listed try these" page.

I wrote an entry on my blog in response to Matt from .. I had one comment saying that Google does use region-based methods for rolling out /testing different sets of features, before they are ready to go completely public with them.

Because we are in the third world, who would care about us anyway ;)
Hmm, touché... Then again, I would understand different CSS, words, and languages... but layout... who knows...

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