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May 11, 2010

Hide Google Options Gives Users an Option

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Dissatisfied with the new layout of Google search results pages, thousands of people have downloaded the Hide Google Options plugin for Firefox and Chrome. The response we’ve gotten from users in the U.S. has been encouraging, but we realized that until the plugin supported all the international Google search domains, there would be users that couldn’t benefit from the extension. Today we’re happy to say that the Hide Google Options plugin supports all Google search engines worldwide.

It all started when Susan sounded the alarm. I’d read reports of a Google options sidebar being spotted in the wild, and Susan happened to be one of the guinea pigs. Annoyed by the clutter of the sidebar, she’d cleared her cookies, but that only worked for so long. She couldn’t shake the user interface Google was testing in her SERPs and she wasn’t going to lose her preferred search layout quietly. As more and more people started seeing the change, we recognized a growing need, especially if Google was going to make the options sidebar permanent.

Hide Google Options plugin icon

There was some steadily increasing interest in our plugin while Google was testing the three-column layout, but when Google rolled out the “Everything” sidebar to all users last week, downloads soared. We’re extremely delighted that people are finding Hide Google Options useful and we are soaking up all the helpful feedback. It’s your comments that helped bring Hide Google Options to users everywhere.

In fact, maybe Google would be better off if they listened to their users more often. Google’s known for its heavy reliance on data and testing before releasing anything to the public at large. But the story of the Google user interface update shows that sometimes data doesn’t tell the whole story.

There are probably a lot of people that like the new interface, but there are also a lot of people that don’t. If it turns out that the outcry is more than a case of user backlash during the adjustment period, Google’s biggest misstep will be that they didn’t give users the option to turn the sidebar on and off at will.

Does anyone else think it’s funny that the release of the Google options sidebar has been a rallying call for more Google options? We’re glad we can help bring the previous Google SERP option back to the table.

You’ll find the simple plugin that lets you hide the Google sidebar on our free SEO tools site or in the Chrome extension gallery. And for those who are wondering, it should be available in the Firefox add-on gallery soon.

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3 responses to “Hide Google Options Gives Users an Option”

  1. Lakkineni writes:

    Nice plugin! not sure if the new layout helped any one? Well I guess only time will decide.

    I wish there is a one click option to switch to the old layout. At least Google would have some feedback on the new layout / UI to improve on.

    Is Google stopped listening to it’s users?

  2. Andy @ FirstFound writes:

    Am I in a minority of one when it comes to liking the new layout?

  3. Virginia Nussey writes:

    I don’t think you’re in the minority, Andy. As Danny Sullivan reports, it’s a small vocal minority that’s unhappy with the new layout ( and Google isn’t about to curb its new search interface since the company believes that even those users will adjust soon enough. We just like having the option to hide it when we choose. :)

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