New Google UI

When searching on Google today I noticed a new UI for the results page – lots more whitespace, no-underline links and softer colours including grey sites links in place of green. Apparently it’s common for Google to “test” changes on a set of users – no doubt a small percentage but large number of users given their customer base – and it would appear I’m included.

Here’s what the new and old results pages look like for me on Google.co.nz and Google.com respectively (Firefox 4 on Windows 7 while logged into my Google Account),

New UI:

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Old UI:

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Personally I like it, mainly because I’ve been running a very similar colour scheme here on my blog and on my personal site (noble.gen.nz) for some time now. In fact, I think Google just copied my scheme! Ah well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?!

Firefox 3.5 – likes and tweaks

Gotta say I’m loving Firefox 3.5 – it’s stable, fast, not IE(!) and simply works.

Here’s my top five favourite new features,

  1. Clickable links in view > page source (ctrl+u)
    This is great for anyone who frequently dives into a page’s code. Want to know how that site you’re viewing implemented it’s style sheet? No problem. View the page source, look for the style sheet link, click it and you’re viewing the CSS in source view. Nice.
  2. Tab tearing
    Previously I’ve used add-ons to enable something like this, but no more with tab tearing built-in. This feature lets you drag a tab out of your current window to have that tab spawn a new window. Great if you want to quickly refer to two open tabs/pages at once side by side.
  3. Smarter “AwesomeBar”
    Firefox’s already super useful location bar, aka the “AwesomeBar”, just got even more awesome. You can now search smarter via new operators. Use ^ to search only history, * to search your bookmarks only, and + to search your tags.
  4. Private Browsing
    Also dubbed “porn mode”, Private Browsing is just that – a mode you can enter which keeps your session private – meaning no data for the session will be cached or saved to disk (eg cookies, history, search, passwords). Great if you share a computer and want to do some secret shopping for your significant other… (or yourself!)
  5. Under-the-hood: Speed and Standards
    A new engine called Tracemonkey makes rendering Javascript faster and changes to database querying make for speedier access to your history and bookmarks. Other changes behind the scenes include more standards support including native audio and video as defined in the HTML5 spec. Anything that improves speed and standards support get a big thumbs up from me.

And the Mozilla Links blog details some more new features in their All about Firefox 3.5 post.

Of course Firefox isn’t perfect for my needs, but with my set of add-ons it almost is! Beyond those add-ons, read on for some other tweaks I make to fresh installs of Firefox…

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Sneak Peek Out Back

A week ago WordPress updated to v2.7 with a major overhaul of the backend interface for bloggers.

If you’re curious, here’s a sneak peek at a couple of screens I see and use behind the scenes…

The Dashboard,

And the “Add New Post” page,

For a complete list of features and changes, check out the WordPress.com blog and for a video introduction and some history head over to the WordPress.org Development blog.