Google Senior User Experience Designer Jon Wiley posted an explanation of the new Google redesign from a design perspective today. He talks about how other elements of the Google experience were made simpler to lighten the load as the left panel got more complex.
In Google's quest to find the right design balance (they've been testing various left-hand navigation schemes as far back as 2006, he says), there were some throw away ideas. While I'm sure there were way more than this, he shares a few of them:
"While I'm very happy about our latest improvements, a designer's work is never done," says Wiley. "We're already testing additional refinements and we'll continue to listen to all of you as we work to continue making search better."
Google will always make refinements. That has always been the case, and that will never change. Some will be subtle, some won't. The user interface refinements will still probably never be as frequent as the tweaks to the algorithm.
What do you think of the rejected designs? Do you like any of them better than the current one? Do you prefer the old Google? Tell us what you think.