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Google's desktop Search tweak: Clearer? No, it's just more clutter, say users

Some users complain the addition of icons ahead of search results doesn't help them find credible sources.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on

Seven years ago Microsoft's Bing team started testing favicons in search results. Google has been trying out favicons in results for over a decade too, but last week it introduced a change to desktop search results that has annoyed some users because it adds clutter to Google's historically clean interface. 

Google announced in a tweet that site owners can now choose the preferred icon they wish to have next to results from their site. 

"The format puts a site's brand front and center, helping searchers better understand where information is coming from, more easily scan results and decide what to explore," Google said.

The new look for Google search results on the desktop brings it in line with mobile design changes that it rolled out last year, which allowed organizations to present their icons next to search results. 

The addition of favicons on desktop search results has also been accompanied by a bolded 'Ad' label for adverts.

The reaction from Twitter users who actually noticed the change argue the addition of icons "looks cluttered and awful". Some say it also doesn't help users find what they're looking for any faster.  

And in age when fake news is abundant and many people lack the skills to tell whether a source of information is credible, it's not known whether adding icons to search results actually does help users identify the source of information. 

Google contended that the design change for mobile results "allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards, all while giving you a better sense of the web page's content with clear attribution back to the source". 

More on Google and Search

  • Google: Search is changing, so here's how you'll now see news search results  
  • Google: Search's ability to understand you just made its 'biggest leap in 5 years'
  • Google: We've changed search rankings to reward 'original news reporting'
  • Over half of Google searches don't produce a single click: Is that good or bad
  • Google: We'll offer rival search engines on Android but they'll have to pay us
  • Google gives Android users in Europe more search, browser options
  • Google: Get ready for bigger ads in your Search results on mobile
  • Hey Google: What we search for most in cybersecurity
  • Google search revamp: Expect to see ton of new features on your phone
  • Former Mozilla exec: Google has sabotaged Firefox for years
  • Photos: 10 years of Google Chrome TechRepublic  
  • Google's Avengers Easter egg unleashes Thanos' destructive power on the web CNET
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