Material Design is supposed to be the visual template that unifies Google's products, but it's taken a while to reach every part of the tech company's kingdom — especially the larger products. We saw a Material Design overhaul of YouTube last month, and it seems the company is also testing the updated look on its desktop search. Engadget first spotted the change, and various users on Twitter and Reddit have also reported glimpsing the provisional update.
It's not a massive difference compared to the current look of Google's desktop searches, and the main visual change is new segmented search results placed in white cards on a grey background. There are a few other minor tweaks, including changing the settings icon from a cog to three vertical dots, and updating the search button from a white-on-blue magnifying glass to a grey-on-white one. (Although not all of these changes are visible in the embedded tweet below.) The Google homepage also gets a refresh in line with these changes.
A comparison of search results before (left) and after (right) the Material Design update.
One of the bigger tweaks is to Google's Knowledge Graph results — those information-dense cards that pop up alongside certain search results, offering basic facts like biographical details. These usually appear to the side of the main results, though sometimes at the top of the page too. In the Material Design update Google is testing, it appears they're being shunted into the main column of search results, along with adverts and image searches. It's a more streamlined look, but also means it takes longer for users to see the actual search results.
Of course, these changes are all just provisional at the moment. Google frequently tests tweaks to its design with various users (e.g., turning search results from blue to black), analyzing how the changes affect how people use their sites. Let us know if you've seen the Material Design update yourself and what you think of it.