Google Chooses Big Ugly

Google has a bigger Search Box and many observers find it big and ugly.  It is surprising how a move from a 13-pixel font for the search box, up to 17 pixels can have such a visual impact.  This same font size is used for the list of possible searches that is presented by the Google Suggest process.  If this change is not yet apparent in your part of the world here is what the Google Search Box with the Google Suggest list looks like.

big ugly google

Below the Search box, the buttons also are increased in size and are now more square:

big ugly buttons

It is surprising how that I’m Feeling Lucky button survives.  Even more so when you realize that whenever this button is clicked, it may well cost Google in lost advertising revenues.

The thinking behind this change is not at all clear, given so many adverse reactions.

The official word is that the Google Search Box is now S-U-P-E-R sized.  Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience introduces it as follows:

For us, search has always been our focus. And, starting today, you’ll notice on our homepage and on our search results pages, our search box is growing in size. Although this is a very simple idea and an even simpler change, we’re excited about it — because it symbolizes our focus on search and because it makes our clean, minimalist homepage even easier and more fun to use.

It is perhaps something that only its Mother could love.

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12 thoughts on “Google Chooses Big Ugly”

  1. Hi Barry,

    I think you’re absolutely right but it tends to be an issue with how PCs renders fonts in the browser. I’m on a Mac and the new font increase on Google looks really good 😉

    See screenshot:

    But then again, font’s always look a bit better on my mac.


  2. Well, I don’t know. My screen resolution keeps going up and I’m squinting more than ever to read the web these days. I put larger fonts on my site for a while, and I personally prefer it, but the analytics say the surfers didn’t agree. Google may end up reversing this trend if the level of complaints match users’ behavior.

  3. ugly to say the least 🙁
    when they first changed it i was so surprised i immediately thought i did something wrong. tried to zoom in/out my page .. i just couldnt believe google would use this size by choice. i really really hope they change it back .

  4. Here’s an interesting question: When is the last time you visited the Google homepage? I use Chrome, so I type my searches right into the address bar. The other browsers I use all have the search box built in too. Maybe Google’s done a solid enough job keeping people off their homepage, in a good way, that this doesn’t matter so much.

  5. I don’t know why you guys all think it’s that ugly. Maybe it’s because my resolution is fairly high so everything needs to be enlarged to be readable anyway, but I really don’t mind the larger search box. It’s easier to click on it and to see the auto suggest phrases. There’s nothing else on the page, so why does it even matter if the search box is a little bigger?

  6. @Jerry You will also find that the text used in the Search box at the top of the Keyword Search results page is also large as well. It seems to be Google’s current preferred mode of helping you search. 🙁

  7. I thought the same when I first saw it – in Firefox on a PC it does look pretty bad – having said that Google has never been great from a design point of view, and it’s never hindered their popularity in the past, so can’t see them suddenly paying attention to design now.

  8. Well actually it’s quite ugly to see the Google search box as well as search result pages in internet explorer but when i saw it in Firefox the font changed to bold and it looked quite better as its boldness showed focus on the search part as the Vice President of the search product said. It not as ugly in Firefox as much as in other browsers.And well everyone is busy in innovating so if Google is doing it in design we should wait for a better one which i hope will come.

  9. It may be ugly but more usable to people with not so good sight. I don’t care that it is bigger if it helps more people to use computers and search valid information from the web.

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