Google’s changed home page sparks confusion

Posted June 10, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.

Picture-2.jpgDow Jones Newswires | Google Inc.’s website sparked some confusion and a brief backlash
Thursday as Internet users discovered a temporary switch on its home
page to bold, colorful background photos from its traditional white,
uncluttered design.

The Internet giant, which launched a new feature last week that allows
Google account holders to choose their own background for its search
engine, sought to demonstrate the feature by pre-loading selected photos
when people went to the website.

But many users were surprised and a little disappointed at what appeared to be the loss of one of Google’s overlooked advantages in the search-engine battle with rival Microsoft Corp.’s Bing: the sparse and uncluttered display of a single text box against an empty background.

There was a fast response on social-networking site Twitter, with scores of users quickly commenting on the changes. “Why are there giant ugly background images on Google now?” one user wrote. Another user said it appeared Google was “trying to copy Bing,” which, since its introduction last year, has featured photos of city skylines, seascapes and other such shots.

Some Twitter users, however, said they liked the switch.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, the site had reverted to its traditional display, with “Google” in primary colors against a minimalist white background.

Google had planned to add a hyperlink on the page that would contain an explanation that the change was only temporary. But the company said in a blog post that, “due to a bug, the explanatory link did not appear for most users.”

“As a result many people thought we had permanently changed our homepage, so we decided to stop today’s series early,” said Marissa Mayer, a Google vice president, on the blog.

Earlier, a Google spokesman said the company has been asked to create more ways to customize the site, and the images Thursday were an example of what users can change. The switch was planned for one-day only, and was expected to revert back to normal on Friday.

While Google’s move could suggest that the company is feeling pressure from Bing, Google remains far ahead of its search rival, conducting 64% of U.S. Internet searches, with Bing at 12 percent. Microsoft has increased its share of Internet searches by 3.4 percentage points since Bing’s launch, but most gains came at the expense of Yahoo.



  1. JJ Skittles June 10, 2010 at 10:20 a.m.

    “…search experience more relevant…”? More relevant to what? It’s an obvious nod to Microsoft that Bing got it right. Through pure habit, I still use Google more, but Bing has made its homepage worth checking out daily even without needing to search for something thanks in part to the factoid-y new image displayed each day. Google is copying the image portion, and don’t be surprised to see the factoids follow shortly.

  2. NoHome June 10, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.

    I don’t like having the graphic on the search page. On slow internet connections or really old hardware it reduces the download speed. Also very disappointed at Google for not offering a classic Google homepage without having to login so that they can track your searches against your account. booooo

  3. Muray June 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    The new background image is awful. Bad move Google

  4. Thomas J June 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I enjoy the feature and as a artist I now have the choice to chose a design of my own from my computer ……Excellent.
    However I fully understand that some people will not like this new feature, and for the life of me I cannot understand why Google did not have a simple OPT OUT DEFAULT BUTTON.
    (Call it Google Orginal)
    Are you listening Google , you are suppose to be after the highest market share possible. Give the people the easy option as described by Nohome Reply num 3

  5. Brian June 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I hope one day meaningless pap like this is the most important thing in my life to worry about.
    (Some of you people really need to turn off those computers and go outside for some fresh air).

  6. Thomas J June 10, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Hi again
    Ok to any past,present,and future readers.
    As of Friday 11th June 2010, Google’s Homepage is now the usual subject.
    However if you want to keep the background option, you now have to sign into and keep open your google account.
    Another option to keep the default is when your Google account is open you CLICK THE remove background image.
    (Its located in the left hand corner.)
    Google Sorted………………

  7. jp4e77 June 10, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Thank god, that was real annoying

  8. Marion June 11, 2010 at 9:23 a.m.

    I agree. BUT, many people won’t like the outside: too many colors (blue sky, green grass, yellow flowers). On the other hand, they may enjoy the white clouds.

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