The mobile layout of Google Custom Search is getting an update. The new update makes the mobile layout easier to use, faster, and more appealing. Though none of the updates are groundbreaking, Google’s new Custom Search mobile layout should make mobile search more pleasant for users and give website owners a better chance to make a good impression.
Google Custom Search is the tool many websites use to include a search box for their website. It gives website owners an easy way to implement a powerful search option, and they can make money from AdSense ads shown in the search results. The new update will affect how the search results look on mobile devices, though some of the changes will be implemented on desktops as well.
Google explained the updates in a post on the Custom Search blog last week. As the company explains in the post, “We are pleased to announce a new mobile layout that should provide an improved experience for mobile device users. We’ve changed the look of the search box and refinements, increased the size of the thumbnails, and simplified the pagination.”
The changes in thumbnail size could lead to some search results looking differently. In the Before screenshot, the images weren’t cropped to fit the thumbnail size. For example, images that were in landscape view showed the entire picture and added white space to fill the rest of the thumbnail. In the new layout, the thumbnail is filled by the image, even if it awkwardly crops the image.
The pagination has been changed to remove the individual numbers and only include a “next” button to show more results. This will make it easier for mobile users to navigate to the next page since they won’t have to struggle to hit tiny page numbers. And few users skip pages when viewing search results, so a next button is more logical.
Though this wasn’t mentioned as a benefit, there is some evidence that the new Custom Search mobile layout is faster. In the before and after screenshot, the new layout returned the same number of search results in significantly less time.
The first search took 0.36 seconds, whereas the search on the new layout was completed in 0.22 seconds. To be fair, it’s not a drop in speed that users will notice, but that it’s still 63 percent faster.
According to estimates, more than 630,000 websites use Custom Search. The last update was nearly a year ago, so it’s good to see that Google is continuing to support the product. The more appealing layout may even be beneficial to the site. If people spend more time looking at search results, the site gains more revenue from AdSense.
Google has also included an option for site owners who don’t want to utilize some of these features. Site owners have the option of disabling the mobile-specific changes by setting the “mobileLayout” attribute of the search element to “disabled.”
For more recent news about updates to Google, read this article on how Android devices in the EU will get more options for specific apps.