September 11, 2009
So they say size doesn’t matter. Well tell that to Google. They’ve just practically doubled the size of the search field on their home page. They’ve also increased the size of the “Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky” buttons. If you conducted more than one search at Google.com on Wednesday, you might have noticed the change take effect live as the tweak was rolled out across the various datacenters.
The search box is now thicker and much longer than before. The character limit appears to be unchanged at around 96 characters but the text you type in is much larger. The two buttons beneath the search box are about 30% larger than before and have square rather than round, corners.
Compare the original search box with the new search box.
The change went mostly unnoticed until a blog post on Mashable went viral on Twitter, closely followed by a TechCrunch post on the subject.
The motivation for the change was initially unclear, but I assumed it to be a design usability issue, possibly in response to Bing’s clean search interface.
Google Vice President of User E Melissa Mayer finally confirmed the usability aspect later in the day with her post about the tweak :
“Starting today, you’ll notice on our homepage and on our search results pages, our search box is growing in size. Although this is a very simple idea and an even simpler change, we’re excited about it – because it symbolizes our focus on search and because it makes our clean, minimalist homepage even easier and more fun to use. The new, larger Google search box features larger text when you type so you can see your query more clearly. It also uses a larger text size for the suggestions below the search box, making it easier to select one of the possible refinements.”
The tweak is now live on most of Google’s datacenters and regional sites.