Google Unveils New Bar, Drop-down Menu; Enhances User Experience

Google BarThe Google team has been busy with a host of new design changes, including the implementation of a large, clickable Google button—called the Google bar—that now appears in the top left corner of any Google page.

When you click the button, you’re presented with a drop-down menu that gives you a variety of quick links to various Google sites: Google+, search, images, maps, YouTube, docs and more. You may have already noticed that the Google bar replaces the previous navigation menu, which included links to Google sites and apps on the left-hand side and Google+-related links on the right. For a more in-depth look at the Google bar, here’s a quick video tour from the Google blog:

We spend a lot of time on Google sites, and are already big fans of the new Google bar—especially since Google+ profiles are the first option. Google has made it easier to access their apps, and by making Google+ the first option, Google has given a clear sign that it continues to push its evolving social networking platform.

Not only are we fans of Google, but we’re sticklers for user experience—and, as evidenced by the new Google bar, it seems Google’s engineers are dedicated to improving the brand’s UX. Consider this quote from an explanatory video created by Google (and shared above.): The Google bar “is a little thing that makes switching apps and sharing simpler for you.” Plus, as the Google team points out, the changes to the basic Google navigation menu have paved the way for future enhancements, too, a statement that indicates that Google bar, like other Google features, continues to be a work in progress.

The Google bar joins a host of recent design-related changes, including new user interfaces in sites like Google Mail, YouTube, Maps and Translate. The only downside? Google bar isn’t currently visible in Apps accounts (which we have.) The Google bar rollout occurred over several days, so our fingers are crossed that the new feature will soon be available in apps.

In the meantime, if you spot it, feel free to leave us a comment below. We’ll keep our eyes peeled, too, and will post an update as soon as it’s available. Feel free to leave us your thoughts on the new bar, too. Do you like the direction in which Google is heading with its user interface changes?

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    I’ve seen it and I’m still getting used to it. What I liked about the bar at the top was that it was consistently available and ready across all platforms, and launched me quickly into other areas of Google. But I just installed the Google buttons in Firefox, so now that I have one-click Google access to all the things I use even when I’m not on a Google site, the drop down is growing on me.

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    I’ve seen it and I’m still getting used to it. What I liked about the bar at the top was that it was consistently available and ready across all platforms, and launched me quickly into other areas of Google. But I just installed the Google buttons in Firefox, so now that I have one-click Google access to all the things I use even when I’m not on a Google site, the drop down is growing on me.

  • Shiny

    I think the main problem with this drop-down list is that there are no posibilities to customize it. I prefer the old bar at the top where all the things I use frequently were right in front of me, without the need to go into the drop-down, wait for it, go into the next page and only there I find my most used things such as Calender…
    I guess as with all changes, this one will have both fans and anti-fans, it would be great to have an option for this in the settings instead of being forced to use something you don’t like.

  • Anonymous

    Totally makes sense – and I found the other alternative easier, too. Hopefully they’ll take some user feedback and make it better over time!

  • Anonymous

    I used to use FF, Tinu, but got tired of it always crashing so I migrated to Chrome. Which I love. I don’t mind the changes all that much, but then, I like change!

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  • Anonymous

    Shelly: are you using Chrome on your MacBook Air with Lion? I just got one and heard Chrome is fussy with this OS. I just tried it and sure enough got an immediate error message trying to open a link. Any tips? Also: not seeing the new Google Bar. Limited rollout? Cheers, Donna

  • Mark Magnus

    Not a fan.  As usual, this like many processes doesn’t seem have a configuable (off) button.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it funny how so many things are “built” that way? Sigh.

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