The new Google search page sucks. The trend to removing tool links and hiding them in a drop down menu is ridiculous. All you have is a lot of empty white space. You have to hunt for the familiar search parameters that were once in the left sidebar.
[Click image above for LARGER VIEW to see what I mean.]
Now the Search Tools, in a drop down menu, is located in the top navigation bar, after Web | Images | Maps | Shopping | More.
To make matters worse, the links are not labeled correctly.
When you click on Search Tools, a horizontal navigation bar appears. To configure search results by recency, you have to click on Past Week, which then triggers another drop down menu with the options Anytime, Past Hour, Past 24 Hours, Past Week, Past Month, Past Year, and Custom Range. Instead of Past Week, it should say Recency or Date Parameters or similar.
At first, I looked for the Search Tools in the drop down menu of the gear icon at the top far right.
Hiding familiar tools in drop down menus is very poor usability, especially when these tools are not numerous and cluttering the page.
As usability expert Jakob Nielsen states, in "Drop Down Menus: Use Sparingly", scrolling menus reduce usability when they prevent users from seeing all their options in a single glance. Nielsen also states that in his studies, drop down menus annoy users.
A web page that hides everything in drop down menus achieves nothing except an empty look and a user interface that is no longer intuitive.