Google Desktop Search Bar Test with “Clear” Icon, Including a (Brief) History of Tests

By Brodie Clark

November 7, 2019
Google Testing a "Clear" Icon in the Search Bar
Google Testing a “Clear” Icon in the Search Bar

In the latest desktop Google search bar test, I’m seeing a clear icon with an “x” symbol to remove the search query.

This is in addition to the magnifying glass and ‘search by voice’ icons which have had the existing material design some time now.

A similar “clear” icon is currently on mobile, which is only visible when you actually click the search bar (this one shows as the default).

Earliest screenshot of this I could find of the mobile version was March 10th 2018. It has probably been there for even longer though.

Search bar tests have become more common this year, where every few months I’ve spotted something new.

Earlier this year in May I saw Google was testing a colourful magnifying glass with placement on the left, and the icon replaced with a button that had the word ‘Search’:

may 2019 desktop search bar test
May 2019 Search Bar Test, see here for my tweet about this

At this time, Google hadn’t rolled out the colourful icons which was first discovered by Joe Youngblood as reported by Search Engine Land.

Google eventually decided to place that same colourful magnifying glass directly below with the web search tab.

Another variation of this that I saw in August had the same word ‘Search’ on the button, but without being boxed in:

august 2019 desktop search bar test
August 2019 Search Bar Test, see here for my tweet about this

Within this particular test, once the user hovers over the search bar, it will go light blue in a rounded formation.

The search bar is the starting point for most interactions on Google’s search engine, so it’s an important one for them to get right.

Another test that I saw more recently had the “search by voice icon” separate on desktop, which made it’s placement more obvious:

october 2019 search by voice desktop search bar test
October 2019 Search Bar Test, see here for my tweet about this

As Ben Poulton notes here, the placement of the “search by voice” icon may become more prominent as times goes on, which I would agree with.

The desktop clear icon with the “x” symbol test will be interesting to see whether Google rolls out. Do users prefer not highlighting and pressing the ‘delete’ button? Only time will tell.

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