Google last year introduced a significant change to the search results on mobile as it started displaying favicons. This made it visually easier to distinguish trusted sites from shady ones and ads. Earlier, the ads were highlighted in green at the top of search results but after the change, they were only differentiated by a little “Ad” icon. Also, as noted by Alex Hern of the Guardian, SearchEngineLand has a great synopsis of the changes Google has implemented over the years.
— hern (@alexhern) January 23, 2020
It seems that the company has made its ads sneakier, but after the initial backlash, Google says it’s experimenting with a variety of ways to display search results:
Last week we updated the look of Search on desktop to mirror what’s been on mobile for months. We’ve heard your feedback about the update. We always want to make Search better, so we’re going to experiment with new placements for favicons….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 24, 2020