Google has apparently scrapped its Instant Preview feature, and replaced it with a less-conspicuous drop-down menu.

Instant Preview let searchers see a cached version of a webpage, in the form of a large screenshot to the right of search results.

It also allowed users to share pages on the Google+ social network, and search for similar pages.

Now, it’s gone. And in its place is a tiny, green arrow next to the website URL in Google’s search results.

All the functionality is still there, in what is arguably a tidier format. Clicking the arrow brings up options to view the cached version of a page, perform a search for similar pages, or share the page on Google+.

Interestingly, not all results show the ‘Similar’ option.

At the moment, this is assumed to be a test. There is no indication that Google won’t switch things back in the next few days, or months. Google did make a statement to TechCrunch, but it doesn’t tell us an awful lot: “We’re constantly making changes to the layout and features of the search results page.”

It’s difficult to make any predictions on what this could mean for SEO – perhaps the tidier, sleeker look will result in more people using the ‘Similar’ search feature?

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About the author:

Oliver Pyper is senior online copywriter at ClickThrough Marketing. He writes on-page content, blogs, press releases and loads of other bits and pieces too numerous and brilliant to mention. He’s also responsible for Kate Bush: The Musical and a series of videos depicting a young man’s search for energy drinks in New York City. Drop him a line if you want to talk content solutions or Kate Bush.