No wonder Google Search became a tad slow earlier. It was secretly undergoing a major revamp.
Check out the metamorphosis, unveiled just a few minutes ago:
"Today’s metamorphosis responds to the increasing richness of the web and the increasing power of search — revealing search tools on the left and updating the visual look and feel throughout. While we are constantly rolling out small changes and updates, today’s changes showcase the latest evolutions in our search technology, making it easier than ever to find exactly what you're looking for." - Official Google Blog
Most Noticeable Changes:
1. Addition of contextually relevant, left-hand navigation to the page
a. Universal Search tools with icons that make it more fun to use
b. Expandable Search Options panel
c. Google Squared, which is not yet available on local search. Essentially, this feature allows you to find other entities that are related to your query ala Google Wonder Wheel.
2. Color Palette and Logo;
These changes are slight, keeping our page minimalist and whimsical, but make our overall look more modern.
The new design refreshes and streamlines the look, feel and functionality of Google, making it easier to pinpoint what you’re looking for. It’s powerful, yet simple.
To learn more about the new look of Google Search, watch this video:
One thing really like about the new results page is the shorter mouse distance between the search box and the search results. It's a small change that contributes greatly to good user experience, imo.
Aside from that and the cute new search tools icons, there's not much about this new look to shout about. I believe, just like the April 29 Youtube Player Revamp, what Google Search had today is - in essence - merely an aesthetics update. Nothing wrong with that, really. Come to think of it, compared to Bing or Yahoo, not much has been happening to Google Search page design lately. I think this revamp came at the right time.