Google has updated the User Interface of its search results to make ads as indistinguishable from organic feeds as much as possible.
A little favicon that appears top-left of ads results differentiates ads from generic keyword results but it appears Google has customized that icon to look and feel just like the favicons which show along with organic results.
In a post on Twitter, The Guardian’s Alex Hern pointed out that there is now almost no visual distinction between ads and search results, saying:
“I would argue there is now no visual distinction between ads and results. There is still, technically, *labelling*, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that it is supposed to be difficult to spot at a glance where the adverts end.”
I would argue there is now no visual distinction between ads and results. There is still, technically, *labelling*, but it's hard to escape the conclusion that it is supposed to be difficult to spot at a glance where the adverts end. pic.twitter.com/qjUmisbLER
— hern (@alexhern) January 23, 2020
In the past, it wasn’t this difficult to tell the difference between organic results and ads. Google used to separate them by featuring different color schemes for ads than for organic results. The new direction to bring both experiences closer in presentation began last year and the company explained its reasons for going in that direction.
“With this new design, a website’s branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you’re looking for.”
The changes which began on mobile version have now been translated to the desktop version leaving certain critics disgruntled as to why the company had not carried its users along.
The similarities could yield more clicks for Google on ads thereby increasing profit margins but at what cost?