Anyone using Google consistently in the last few months realized at some point, things had changed when they introduced the new "Bing-like" look and feel - the left-hand column of options. Google added tiny little icons and categories for a search term, to presumably help the user navigate the vast array of choices s/he faces when doing a text search.
The questions I have are: 1) Is this an improvement? (does it actually help you as user of Google search find what you're looking for, and 2) Will it impact how users become used to seeing search options presented in the future, within a site? The Web world seems to move in synch with Google, and it would be hard to imagine this doesn't have an impact (even though Microsoft's Bing did it first).
A recent article on PC World points out that there isn't anything terribly earth-shaking about the recent change to Google's home page: they simply cribbed off the idea of the photographic background from Bing. But the outcries are numerous: