Google appear to be testing out a new search page that doesn't give the user the option to perform a search local to their home country. It also seemed to be only testing this out with Google Chrome and, as far as we can tell, it doesn't appear to have been documented anywhere.
What does the UK Search look like?
When we were doing some local search testing last week on search engine rankings, we used Google Chrome as one of the browsers to test with (as we hadn't used it to log into any Google Accounts). One strange thing that we noticed through was that there appeared to be no option to perform a Google UK search. Normally, there are two radio buttons that allow you to choose between performing a "whole web search" or just "pages from the UK":
However, when we were trying these tests, this option was not available and we simply got the page rendered without those options:
Another odd thing was that within the actual search results, at the bottom of the page, was a link to effectively perform the same UK search by filtering the results (see the "Show only results for United Kingdom" link in the image below):
Why is this UK Search being omitted?
We're not sure whether this was Google just testing an update the the actual layout of the page, especially as we only saw this behaviour in Google Chrome and not Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer. However, another angle could be that they are actually intending on rolling this change out for functionality rather than layout/styling and that they think it's better to initially show results from any site rather than UK based sites even if you are a UK user. This decision could actually have a quite a big impact on how we, and our client's websites, rank in the search engine results page (SERP), especially as there has been talk recently that there have been US based results actually overtaking and pushing UK sites further down the rankings.