Earlier this month, Google began rolling out a feature in the mobile search results where each result is separated by a different coloured line, and there seems to be a slightly larger gap between results.
As reported by Search Engine Land, it was noticed by many mobile searchers on both iOS and Android in February that Google seemed to be testing the feature. Instead of the usual grey line between search results, the new line colours alternate between the colours in the Google logo – blue, red, yellow and green.
At this moment in time, it is unclear what effect this change might have, if any, on user experience. In the screenshots from what we presume to have been the testing period, however, the new interface seems to take up more space on the screen, so it may result in less results being displayed, especially if the user’s phone is relatively small. Some users/webmasters may also argue that the different colours may have an affect psychologically due to the associations we hold with colours – we may, for example, be more likely to avoid the one with the red colour since we associate this with danger.
This week, Google also began adding colour to mobile knowledge graph cards. As reported by Search Engine Land, searching for queries which might produce the knowledge graph now might produce a coloured one. This was first spotted by Alex Chitu from Google Operating System, and the results have been replicated by Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land, but it is not clear yet whether this has been introduced in the UK. Likely, it will come sometime in the future.
Whilst it is not yet clear if there are reasons for the colours used (or not used), the examples shown so far by Chitu and Schwartz of Tori Amos and Breaking Bad and by Schwartz only of Neil Young do seem to have some connection. The knowledge graph card for Breaking Bad, for example, is green like the Breaking Bad logo; the knowledge graph card for Tori Amos is red, the colour of her hair and lipstick in the pictures; the knowledge graph card of Neil Young is grey, matching two of the pictures of him where the photos are in black and white.
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