You might have noticed an update to Google's search engine. The company recently rolled out a redesign that freshens the look of its logo and cleans up the information displayed at the bottom of the page.
The biggest change is a new column on the left side of the search results that displays additional options to expand a search -- links to images, news and other categorized search results.
Newsy search terms appear with the option to sift results by time, to find the latest results on a topic, and searches for products present the option to see more or fewer shopping sites.
Microsoft's Bing search service has used the left column this way since it debuted last summer. But a Google designer said that Bing isn't what drove the changes and that Google has dabbled with left-column features since 2006.
"We definitely pay attention to what our competitors are doing, but we've been working with our users and listening to our users," said Jon Wiley, senior user experience designer.
Also new in the left column are suggestions to broaden a search to related categories. A search for a rock band suggests similar bands, for instance.
Wiley said the links in the left column are generated algorithmically based on an analysis of the search query and won't include paid placements.
As for the Google logo, Wiley said the company's "taking what we think are the best parts of the Google logo and turning it up a notch" to increase "the playfulness, the colors."