Google is testing yet another redesign of its navigation interface.
It doesn't seem like that long ago that Google launched the current navigation interface, but that doesn't mean they're not exploring other options.
Alex Chitu at Google Operating System was tipped on a new test Google is running, which includes a more visual style for accessing various Google services. He provides this screenshot:
I'm not sure where the Google+ notification counter is hidden in this version of Google's design. I can't imagine they'd want to do away with that, considering it was one of the key motivating factors to get users to visit and engage with the Google+ social destination.
As Chitu points out, the design is kind of similar to the Chrome app launcher Google has been previewing. Google put out a post about this last week. Here's what that looks like:
Google tests stuff all the time, and much of it never sees the light of day, so don't freak out just yet. Google runs 20,000 search experiments a year, according to Matt Cutts.