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One time I learned from Google's documentation that it was best not to spawn content after loading which affects page layout.

Sometime in the last few years, Google started doing that very thing in their search results. After 1-3 seconds, sometimes a widget pops up which pushes all the search results down. I have countless times gone to click a URL after 2 seconds of searching and had it suddenly move and end up on a different website.

It's incredibly disconcerting. Because of the inconsistency, I've become hesitant and scared to click anything for the first ten seconds of loading the page. I'm being habituated by negative stimulus. Nothing has ever made me want to ditch Google search more strongly because it's now literally giving me anxiety to view the search results.

Anyone who was in charge at Google and had good design sense is long gone, and an empty-headed cargo cult remains.

P.S. I organize my bookmarks bar by favicon color without labels. Gmail was fourth, after the EFF, Youtube, and SMBC. Now I will be kicking gmail to the end of the bar with the rest of the multi-colored icons which can't be sorted and remain indistinguishable from each other. I may be a small data point but Google just effectively killed their premium placement in my bookmarks which will lead to checking my web mail less frequently.




First time I see this mentioned somewhere. YES - this exact same thing has driven me crazy.

> Because of the inconsistency, I've become hesitant and scared to click anything for the first ten seconds of loading the page. I'm being habituated by negative stimulus. Nothing has ever made me want to ditch Google search more strongly because it's now literally giving me anxiety to view the search results.

I resonate with this so much. It offends me in the worst way - it makes me waste my time. Not only when I search something, but on other places too! "Will the content change before I click or not? I don't know, so I better wait a few seconds". Even if a page is not an offender of doing this, I've already been conditioned into waiting.

It's frustrating and it's infuriating. We have ever more powerful computers, and yet interfacing with them feels slower and slower.


And this is why it means so much that Google once encouraged this behavior! Because each single offender multiplies the effect and it carries through your browsing habits elsewhere.

Things like this made Google good stewards of the web.

Do Google engineers not read their own design docs anymore? It almost feels as if the move was intentionally sinister and engineered as a sadistic A/B test.


The same thing seems to happen with a lot of cookie consents that appear at the top of the page after the page loads moving the content lower. Infuriating.

People spend so much time making their pages look, work and feel better but then turn around and add a shitty, badly designed cookie consent that ruins that whole experience.


The piece of shifting layout that annoys me the most in Google search results is the “People also search for” widget. It appears if you visit a search result and then hit the Back button. I usually want to click the search result below the one I just visited, but by the time I’ve moved the mouse to that search result, the Google search page has inserted the “People also search for” widget in its place.

Google Search’s addition of that dynamically-appearing widget two years ago was the primary reason I switched to DuckDuckGo.


Some guy at Google is patting himself on the back for a Job Well Done because the customer engagement metrics are much higher than anticipated.


Selling clicks is literally their business.


They sell deliberate clicks, but measure all clicks, including accidental.


I've added a filter to ublock which blocks it from happening, it's amazing. I use `www.google.*##div[jscontroller]:if(h4:has-text(People also search for))`


Maybe we should start a petition? Because I am about to do the same.

The least they can do is push it to a second column on desktop and to the bottom on mobile.


I’ve literally never seen this. Just tried to make it happen on my iPad with a few random searches and couldn’t. Maybe my adblocker (AdGuard set to block “annoyances”) has saved me this pain without even realizing it.


Happens to me with an adblocker. Are you disabling JS?


Never mind, I am getting the “people also searched for” box for some queries. But it appears to load immediately, I don’t see anything load then move later.


See also this comment thread about the same issue: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24914766


Huh I never notice that one but then I always use middle click to open results in a new tab if there is a chance that I want to look at more than one.


I absolutely hate this practice. I get bit by it daily and it's so frustrating.

Load page. Click -> oops, some element pushed the content down, sorry, wrong link. Gotta go back. Like you, now I give pages time to cool down. It drives me nuts.

The worst offender in my mind are async suggestions loaded on keypress on mobile. Maybe I've got 8% battery left so the CPU got throttled, maybe there's additional network latency right now - whatever it is, too often the result is that the rug gets pulled from under my finger just as I am about to tap on an item in the list.


Google is also penalizing, or starting to penalize, sites that do this. EDIT: Actually I'm not sure if it affects anything yet, but it is a metric for the search console at least.

See https://web.dev/cls/

They have a whole site dedicated to this. I tried asking the authors why Google does it themselves, but no answer that time.


The “but CLS” argument doesn’t hold against: “User searches for something, and results have to be there in <1s. We then decide if we show the shopping widget, which takes 2-5s to generate. When placed correctly, said widget generates X amount of money, while these charts show that CLS decreases our income by only 0.1 X.”

Of course, by only punishing the peasants for CLS, they can offer AMP as an easy alternative, or at the very least, streamline most of the internet to their liking without playing by those same rules themselves.

It’s disgusting.


It's probably a "do what I tell, not what I do". But it hurts their credibility nonetheless.


This happens to me daily with Google! It's so incredibly annoying. I waste so much time because >70% of the time something moves and I click the wrong link.

Can we do something to disable that feature? I'll try disabling JavaScript, or maybe there's a browser extension that does that.

EDIT: Disabling JavaScript stops it but the search is also much slower for me, and there's an additional redirect. The layout is also quite different than what I am used to. Someone posted a uBlock filter here:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24915985


Maybe we should just give up Google search. I'm thinking about it. The anxiety is real. The only problem is everything else completely sucks for technically-oriented searches.


I have good luck with DuckDuckGo for technical searches. It's local searches and searches about relatively current events it seems to have trouble with.


Try Startpage, it internally uses Google. http://startpage.com/


I wish Startpage worked without JS and I also find the background + text color combo to hurt readability.

Otherwise, it's a great alternative and thanks for the shout out!


>I have countless times gone to click a URL after 2 seconds of searching and had it suddenly move and end up on a different website.

task description: some times users click a url after 2 seconds because it is the one they want, unfortunately this causes a serious decrease in exposure to customer ads, therefore it would be beneficial if we detect a user moving too quickly to click something unprofitable for us if we move the links in such a way as to increase profitable actions and decrease overall negative retention rates.

on edit: that's right, I'm so paranoid I think that song is about me.


I’ve completely switched to DuckDuckGo for search. I used to fall back to Google fairly frequently if the DDG results weren’t good enough, but that has gotten less and less frequent. The experience is very similar to Google in the old days


I respect Gabriel Weinberg a lot. I have his book, Super Thinking. My default search engine is DuckDuckGo.

But 90% of the time I tab over to Google and hit enter instead of letting it go through DDG because I already know Google will give me the technical resource I need.

DuckDuckGo also suffers from a readability problem. The text is less crisp, more rounded, the URL is switched with the page title and makes scanning URLs harder, which is my default. Little things like this keep me trapped.


YouTube does this very thing. If you aren’t signed in (which I am not and never will), the whole page loads for enough time that you can press play only for the Sign In To YouTube Music account pop up to appear, which pauses and resets the video. When you click no thanks you have to press play again. Most websites get that you don’t want to create an account after clicking no but YouTube has gone full late 90’s dark patterns.


Google really has turned into one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" types.

Why do we listen to them about web standards again?

I mean we all agree Material looks like shit, right?


thank kind people of the internet for this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/63680896/how-to-block-th...


I’m sure after this change was made some manager said “great job, people are clicking so many ads now!”


Exactly I felt why Google is using this annoying / cheap tactics.


I'm sure A/B testing showed a nice increase in ad clicks as a result of this change and someone got a sweet bonus.


> I organize my bookmarks bar by favicon color without labels. Gmail was fourth, after the EFF, Youtube, and SMBC. Now I will be kicking gmail to the end of the bar with the rest of the multi-colored icons which can't be sorted and remain indistinguishable from each other. I may be a small data point but Google just effectively killed their premium placement in my bookmarks which will lead to checking my web mail less frequently.

I dislike the redesign as well, but this paragraph is very much a "Hacker News Moment" :)


I am the 1%


Uber does this as well.

It's very frustrating when you are in a hury and you click on the wrong address because just a moment ago they updated the drop down list


Want to start a blog and document these instances? Maybe we can shame a few people into fixing these issues.


The only shame Google could possibly feel is missing their earnings projections.


Reminds me of the old adage, "Do not anthropomorphize Larry Ellison."


It's an epidemic of this in interfaces.

Spotify and twitter do it as well. (Reading an interesting tweet while the timeline refreshes, and then it's gone; it might even be some kind of non-followed dynamically pushed content that you don't easily find again).

That is closely related with the slightly less obnoxious practice of repositioning things after an explicit reload or re-entry (but this is still annoying): In spotify, if you click on a playlist, return to home view, the order of playlists in the home view has now been "updated".


Gchat is terrible at this. It fires off an XHR request and then several seconds later it will change and scroll differently. The end result is that if I click faster than a few seconds and it hasn't loaded yet, what receives my click event will be the new thing that is now suddenly in the place where the old thing was. Then that new thing triggers XHR which takes a few seconds ... I long for simple and responsive, like I had more than 20 years ago with IRC.


> Google started doing that very thing in their search results.

Sounds like A&B testing measuring which gives you more ad revenue and zero biological brain cell activity involved.


I was just cursing at my phone the other day for this happening!

It's not necessarily anything new for Google though. I remember for years on YouTube there would be a giant square ad to the right of YouTube videos that would pop in after a few seconds and push the recommended videos all down, so you'd frequently go to click a video and suddenly an ad pops under your cursor and you click that instead


This behavior stops if you turn off JS


> One time I learned from Google's documentation that it was best not to spawn content after loading which affects page layout.

This appears to be the norm, not the exception, in most mobile pages I reluctantly visit. I don't understand how mobile website developers can stand to work on their own sites--I give up in frustration after about 10 seconds.


I have the same issue. But it's part of a general trend for me; I struggle to use "mobile" or "responsive" websites entirely more and more these days. As a result, the amount of times I request "desktop" view on a mobile device has been steadily growing and for more sites. They're trying to be "too fancy", for lack of a better way of expressing such a thing, and it's having knock-on usability effects.


I find myself gritting my teeth sometimes at the design decisions I'm left to implement.


they're loading from localhost and don't perceive any delay


No, we hate it too, trust me.


> Sometime in the last few years, Google started doing that very thing in their search results.

I don't know how you haven't encountered that yet until recently, but that quirk has existed for all of the ~15 years I've been using Google.


Extreme long-term A/B testing :-)


This happens to me every day. Somehow there always seems to be stuff at the top of the page moving my search results around long after the page should have finished loading. Drives me up the wall!


Happens to me all the time at the top of their search results page. Drives me nuts as it pops in right as I'm trying to click the top link, invariably leading me to the wrong place.


I wonder how often that behaviour causes someone trying to click on the first result to accidentally click on an ad instead


I'm sure they have this data and have shown figures in meetings already.


Same thing happens when you change the payment details on Amazon’s one click payment process. I have a household joint account card and a personal card that I use both a lot, tapping the right card or not the back button is extremely difficult because they dance for a bit before settling.

* I use the iPhone app


FYI, you can fix this issue on desktop using: https://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/115038/how-to-st...


I often right click where I want to click then left click out of the right click menu. It solves my subconscious desire to click, and lets my mind accept waiting. Plus, no negative effects, like going to the wrong link :). Perhaps it might help!


Google is one of those "do as I say, not as I do" companies. or worse yet its "stop doing that! you are doing it wrong!" then when you stop they normalize the same thing.


If we’re talking about the same extra added content (while I’ve not tested extensively) it seemed to be browser-specific: it happened in Firefox but not in Safari, for me.


Almost as if it's made to drive clicks to AdSense paying customers




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