New Google Navigation & Layout Changes

Google is testing a new navigation layout for their home page. This change looks like it will effect a few things most notably the position of your Google Profile, or Google+, widget. Although I prefer the widget to not stand out so intrusively for the average user, this would appear as a good way to promote Google+ and begin to increase engagement of users.

Another notable change, and more what I wanted, was the update to the navigation. Something so simple as replacing “videos” with YouTube. For some, this is not a significant change. However, I never used the videos search tab. I always typed “youtube.com” into the address bar. With YouTube being the 3rd most visited site in the world, it only makes sense to have a one-click option leading you from your home page directly to YouTube.

Google also replaced “Shopping” with Documents and Calendar. I think this is another great move, as many people are going the way of the Cloud. While these items have been in the “More” dropdown, their visual presence as part of the main navigation should lead to more use. While I know that it was only 2 clicks before, maybe I am one that has a hard time breaking habits, or maybe it is just the old “Out of sight, out of mind” analogy kept me from using the “More” button to select these options. I always went to the address bar and physically typed in docs.google.com. So personally for me this is another welcomed change to the navigation. Other navigational changes included “mail” to “Gmail” which I feel branding is always going to be a smart decision.

Old Google Layout
(Click to Enlarge)

New Google Layout
(Click to Enlarge)

Activate the New Google Layout & Navigation

If you like the changes that I have listed or that you see in the screen shots, it is easy to go ahead and activate the new navigation layout. Simply go to your Google.com homepage and complete the following.

  • Open the Developer tools within the browser. (If you are using Google Chrome press CTRL + SHIFT + I, in Firefox press CTRL + SHIFT + K, in Internet Explorer (8+) press F12 and if you are using Safari press CTRL + ALT + I)
  • Open the tab “Console” (in Safari choose “Console” from the panel that opens).
  • Copy the code below into the console screen and hit Enter.
    document.cookie="PREF=ID=381502750b6e9119:U=aaee74aefea7315a:FF=0:LD=en:CR=2:TM=1328391998:LM=1328392000:S=yPtlCgLbEnezu5b4; path=/; domain=.google.com";window.location.reload();
  • As soon as you hit Enter, the new navigation should show immediately.

Let me know what you think about the new layout of your Google homepage below. Do you like it, hate it, don’t care or think it is more user friendly? Is it still missing something you think it should have?

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