Update: Now that Google has made this change available to the general public the solution below no longer works, but a new solution can be found here.
Google is well known for their “Google Labs” and “beta” products, but usually you must opt-in to get access to these features. Unfortunately for some google account holders there is a test being run on google search that there is no apparent way to opt-in or opt-out of. The Feature, while possibly useful is annoying to many users as it uses up the left side rail of the website and complicates how search results are displayed.
According to an interview by Search Engine Land with Marissa Mayer, vice president of user experience and search products, “We’re basically looking at a new look and feel for Google.”
The test began in November, and was originally planned to roll-out to additional users at the beginning of this year, but so far that has not happened.
The delay may be due to concerns stemming from users that have been upset with the new interface, often writing in comments that it looks like the interface was inspired by Google rival Bing, run by Microsoft.
For those users who have been subjected to the new interface and wish to revert, there is no obvious solution, although testing has shown that the interface can be reverted by clearing all google cookies and browser cache, closing your browser and then opening it again.
Hopefully if Google chooses to deploy the new interface en masse they will give users the option of disabling it or setting a preference in their Google account.