The Graphic Attack On Google

    October 9, 2007

Bellbottoms, the Beetle, even lava lamps – the visual appeal of some things seems to operate in a sort of cyclical nature.  And as search engines start to jazz up their appearances, some see a return to past (read: pre-Google) trends.

Google’s simplicity was a game-changing factor; superior algorithms may also have been at work, but due to both influences, it became noticeably easier to find good results.  Other companies scrambled to catch up (or pare down, as it were), but Google’s lead continued to climb.

Now Yahoo, Microsoft, and Ask appear to be more or less screwed in the search market, and they may be redeploying some of those old, “make-it-pretty” ideas.  Pictures, videos, different font sizes – you may see any or all of these while looking for various people or things.  Google’s (sort of) taking part in this movement, as well – OneBox results are emphasized, and the search giant has tested new homepages in Asia.

Gord Hotchkiss, the CEO of Enquiro, pointed out to BusinessWeek, “The real problem for Google is not degrading the user experience as they’ve defined it.  And yet, given the competitive landscape, they can’t afford to sit on innovation either.”

Expect to see ongoing adjustments at, then.  But look for any really radical stuff to show up at its competitors’ sites – they have the least to lose and the most to gain.