Google has hit back at allegations its scheduled design changes for its search results pages are making the engine more like its main competitor, Bing.
The latest changes include a permanent left-hand "search options" column on the results page, which is similar in build to Bing's own results filtering column.
Google's logo has also undergone a small cosmetic changes: The rendering of the word "Google" has been simplified by eliminating the outline shading of each letter.
Google Australia spokesperson, Annie Baxter, said that these new changes were made to help users better access all of Google's search tools and that the company has been "experimenting with a permanent left hand panel for Google's results page as early as 2006".
"We'll always be experimenting with ways to give users a better search experience." Baxter said, "So, I think you will see all sorts of experiments and innovations coming through next year."
Google will be rolling out the new design changes globally by the end of the week. The new changes are not expected to result in any downtime for Google's online presence.