Rumours of a new Google design boasting a revamped logo and three-pane search page have proved to be true.

A Gizmodo writer has discovered a code which enables users to preview the new layout when entered into a browser URL bar.

The new design features a striking logo with less shadowing, bright blue buttons, and most notably, a permanent pane on the left containing the search options menu.

The search options - which currently have to be toggled on manually - make use of colourful icons alongside tabbed categories such as news, images, blogs and video.

Also new to the layout is a "see also" section suggesting related search terms, and the lower half of the sidebar displaying filters tailored to the type of content selected.

Gizmodo welcomed the change, praising the cleaner, more streamlined page look.

"Like the Google Wave-inspired interface for Gmail, the new user interface is cleaner and bolder than the current version, offering more options to the user ... it's good to see some changes after so many years of same all same all."

Meanwhile, a Softpedia news editor said the jazzed-up interface was a step in the right direction.

"It's still the same minimalist Google design that we all know and love, but it's gotten a bit livelier. A lot livelier actually, thanks to the small icons adorning the categories in the now-permanent sidebar, but especially to the bright, new blue, which is everywhere from the links to the logo."

Said endofweb blogger Matthew Rogers: "It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable to those who use Google regularly. The front landing page is now more obviously inviting and accessible for touch-screen devices. The results page is cleaner with formerly hidden options brought to light as standard fare, and sidebar prominence. Overall, they've upped the efficiency while keeping it classy, and that's all anyone could ask when something as iconic as Google's design gets tweaked."

Webmonkey's Scott Gilbertson wasn't sold on the layout, however.

"The brighter, more Wave-like look of the prototype doesn't bother us, but we're not so sure about the sidebar, especially given that the same options are already available in the infinitely more compact menu that runs along the top of the page," he wrote.

And a Daily Tech Log writer said: "For people unfamiliar with Google's many features, it's a smart move as it's way more user friendly. For the rest of us, I prefer the simplicity of the old setup - Google's minimalism has always tickled all the right spots - but I can deal."