Co.Design

A Bold Google Homepage For The Modern Era

In this exciting concept, one designer has reimagined Google Search for the cautiously evolving search giant.

A few weeks ago, I asked Jon Wiley, the lead designer for Google Search, if the Google homepage would ever fundamentally change, or if it would always be a white box beneath the Google logo.

He wouldn’t commit either way, but admitted a particular fondness for the design, citing its "iconic simplicity" and pointing out that among other tweaks, Google had actually made that search box larger over the years, a seemingly small change that made a huge difference to usability.

Now, student Jake Nolan has taken Google’s bigger-box evolution a step further. He has knocked down its four walls completely through a concept that supersizes search text to fill the screen and which activates voice search by default. Here at Co.Design, we think it’s a pretty remarkable piece of work.

Aside from eliminating squinting for those of us who really should be wearing glasses, the larger search font turns search terms into a force larger than even the Google logo. This creates a power shift that tacitly implies what the user is looking for is what matters most on the page—and suggests that Google’s logo isn’t what Google is anymore, but that Google has become both our question and our answer.

This philosophy—of Google, not as a search page, but as an active conversation—plays well into what Wiley told me next.

"A decade ago, the place where you began your question with Google was, you sat at your desktop computer, and you’d go to Google.com, and that was the mechanism with which you asked your question to Google. And then, with the advent of mobile phones, you could ask a question pretty much anywhere.

"Now we’re at the point where you have a question in context, you can turn to Google, ask, and get an answer. The look of that conversation has changed. It’s not that the Google homepage is getting replaced, but we’re adding all these ways for someone to ask a question. As more screens have a voice, you’re actually going to see a diversity of ways to interact. It’s actually going to be spread across many displays, surfaces, and modes of interaction.

"I’m fascinated. How do we maintain that simple, beautiful, useful experience, but do it through the entire spread of your environment?"

Now, there are reasons why Nolan’s design may not be as wonderful as it appears. Namely, Google has designed its homepage search largely around efficiency. Each millisecond wasted in the interface can translate to countless hours of lost productivity around the world. As of today, the moment you begin typing in Google's search box, you're transported to Google's results page. There's no time allotted to stop and smell the typographical roses.

But as we talk to devices such as Google Glass, and consider how Google Now automatically searches our context to provide us with answers before we ask questions, it’s clear that Google search has broken out of the box already. Why not bring the Google homepage along for the ride?

See more here.

[Hat tip: Taxi]

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15 Comments

  • I'd go for the option where Google has already read my mind and displays the list of options for me to choose. I'm tired of typing all the time... by the time I've reached my computer, Google has followed me via Android, and well aware of all my purchases. Sift my BIG DATA and show me what I want now.

    The large type in this option might make it difficult for office dwellers to sneak a search when the Cat is away but not far enough away.

    Sync my mouse with my pulse and tell me what I'm working with Goo!

    Head Honcho, Oevae Marketing Consultants

  • Uttam Soni

    Good design but still need so many changes including font size and many other like smart searching. More changes need in context of user experience.

  • Sorry guys but I really don't buy it ! Ok, the interface and fonts are nice but what about the user experience ? The search text is so big it makes the autocomplete worst than before ! In the screen animation it's ok but what if you get a longer proposition ? And you only have 2 propositions where before you could get ten... Is that a real improvement ? You should read this article about a Wikipedia redesign, it is really interesting : http://jgthms.com/wikipedia-redesign.html

  • Ioana Manea

    Good design idea but not an improvement to todays google search experience. One comment on design though. Since the search field is so big, its easier for the people beside you, to notice what you are searching for.

  • This looks very much like the new Myspace design and a bit of Microsoft's Metro/Modern design; in that sense that chrome is gone and it's just the content itself being the medium and focus of attention (i.e. typography)

  • Kaylie Clendenon

    Can we not have the search terms visible from the next room, please? The "commonly-searched" suggestions alone can get embarrassing.

  • I'm also in the same boat for usability and non techies. I can see it now, most people will not be able to find where to type, even with the huge cursor blinking, or even some type of placeholder text. So I would say, if this was implemented tomorrow, it would definitely have to be an opt-in. Great visuals, but still needs work on design.

  • Keerthi Selvam

    nice typography. I personally think typography is important for a popular search engine I m using beautiful typography for my classified site for which most dominant people are reluctant. www.sellrbuyr.in

  • This would work well for techies, but Google's user base reaches far beyond that. It isn't as pretty, but some simple placeholder text or box border in the search field would do wonders for this design. Google's main product is search, and it needs to remain to be blatantly obvious how to do this, even if the design isn't as progressive. The search field font is too big and doesn't represent how the actual search field interaction works in Google. Once you start typing, you are taken away from Google's homepage to a results page with predictive results. Overall the design looks nice visually, but it doesn't focus enough on the main goal of Google's users - Search.

  • No...Just no. This solution would not even come CLOSE to being useful for anyone. Not even a "techie".

    In fact, the "search bar" concept is one of the biggest usability fails I have seen in a long time. Who is the hack "designer" who came up with this crap?

  • I was trying to provide constructive feedback, unlike your rant. I wouldn't personally have a problem using this. The usability of the search bar is bad, but it's learnable. I think the icon toolbar across the bottom is actually an improvement to Google's current app integration pattern. Calling a design crap and a fail does not add value for anyone.