Google disables default search backgrounds after complaints

Google enabled default search backgrounds today for its popular search engine.

The personalization feature was enabled by default for users and Google had originally planned to disable automatic images tomorrow. VP of Search Product and User Experience at Google, Marissa Mayer, confirmed the company had disabled the backgrounds early. "Actually as of now :)" Mayer twittered in response to another user tweeting that Google would return to normal tomorrow. Mayer previously confirmed "we will be back to normal tomorrow", when questioned earlier by Twitter users.

A quick search of Twitter earlier today showed that the majority of people disliked the change and preferred the classic Google. Many were unhappy about being forced to see a custom background instead of opting in for the feature. Mayer commented on the removal of default search backgrounds, "there was supposed to be a link explaining what was going on (one day, etc.), due to a bug it wasn't showing." Both Mayer and Google acted quickly to the mounting criticism and axed the change.

The custom backgrounds feature on Google allows users to add their own background (image must be 800 x 600 or larger), and can upload an assortment of file extensions from .jpeg, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .gif, .psd (Photoshop), .png, .tga, and selected RAW formats. You can also select photos from My Picasa web photos, public gallery and editor's picks (as selected by Google).

Microsoft's Bing search engine has provided changing daily backgrounds since the service launched in May 2009. The backgrounds, with handy facts, have proved popular across the Internet with some choosing to archive the various International versions. Microsoft saw the funny side of Google imitating Bing for the day, "How intriguing to see friends at Google borrowing the Bing homepage photography idea," tweeted Peter Bale, executive producer of the MSN UK network. Microsoft's Europe twitter account also tweeted "We've lost a background image, if found please return to bing.com ;)".

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Logging in on Yahoo for email yesterday, it had a full-screen car interior shot, kind of like an ad...not with Chrome, and not with Firefox, but in IE.

Weird.... just now I opened google and it has GONE completely.... no options to change backgrounds... the whole feature has been removed. when they said they were removing the default search backgrounds I thought just the thing they done temporarily... I have no option to use it now and I loved the feature

Is it just me or this tulip looks like middle finger )
and btw I'm really like fast and simple search engine. I don't care and I am not there because of background image witch one I don't even see that moment or same one make my search harder to locate staff I need usually fast is possible. The way Google look like right now is exactly what need.

nope gone from the uk as well, was nice to look at when searching for stuff on the net, from a technical functionality pov it didnt add anything, sometimes its ok for stuff to just look nice

Im glad they got rid of it. People like Google coz it only loaded on their front page what was nessessary, it dont need backgrounds to make it functional.

"How intriguing to see friends at Google borrowing the Bing homepage photography idea," tweeted Peter Bale, executive producer of the MSN UK network.

Someone should show him all the ways MS has 'borrowed' from Apple, Google, Linux and pretty much everyone else. He'd be gobsmacked.

Latch said,
"How intriguing to see friends at Google borrowing the Bing homepage photography idea," tweeted Peter Bale, executive producer of the MSN UK network.

Someone should show him all the ways MS has 'borrowed' from Apple, Google, Linux and pretty much everyone else. He'd be gobsmacked.


Hey genius, everybody steals from everyone

Mouettus said,
It really looked like when I first started to build web pages back in 1998!!!

Nah to really looks like a page from 98 an animated gif is needed like for example a dancing mouse ...

I can see the appeal for this on an optional basis, but Google should know better than to try force this on users that have become attached to their simplistic home page.

Google images are blocked at work for me, so the home page was just blank-white with weird-looking no-contrast logo and text. They did not think this through. How many old people with home page set to Google did this traumatize?

By the way, is there a single instance in these comments that affect/effect aren't switched around?

burnblue said,
How many old people with home page set to Google did this traumatize?

I'm scared for life sir...I'll never be able to use the intertubez after this again....

I'm using iGoogle as homepage so i don't really care. There's already a background image on iGoogle anyway ...

I really doubt Google wants people using another search engines over their poorly implemented background designs. Exactly the reason it's now disabled by default, why they forced it on their users I'll never know.

DavidM said,
I really doubt Google wants people using another search engines over their poorly implemented background designs. Exactly the reason it's now disabled by default, why they forced it on their users I'll never know.

Testing? Wanting to see the reactions of the everyday user? As they originally intended to do it for a day only, I'm pretty sure the reasoning behind it was to get some feedback from users.

Metodi Mitov said,

Testing? Wanting to see the reactions of the everyday user? As they originally intended to do it for a day only, I'm pretty sure the reasoning behind it was to get some feedback from users.


Well, they got it didn't they? A big fat "NO"

people are such whiny little babies. I think google is awesome for being different, changing their logos, etc. It adds something unique to the site, makes it less boring, plus it shows they have a sense of humor sometimes (pacman). I think everyone needs to stop being a little B*tch and shut up. you don't like it? then GTFO and use yahoo or askjeeves.com

The backgrounds are pretty nice, although nowadays you dont really need to go to the google.ca website, you just have to search on the google toolbar, or even typing in something in the url will usually default it to google (therefore bypassing the screen). I dont understand some people, seems they have nothing else better to do then complain.

-DanNY- said,
The backgrounds are pretty nice, although nowadays you dont really need to go to the google.ca website, you just have to search on the google toolbar, or even typing in something in the url will usually default it to google (therefore bypassing the screen). I dont understand some people, seems they have nothing else better to do then complain.

Seems to be the go to response, what if they changed the search bar to have some kind of retarded purple background? Would you still not care? The problem is that you are calling people complainers simply because it doesn't effect you. The reason you don't understand why this effects people is because you have no empathy and you are self centered. You might comprehend things like this a little better if you actually tried to understand it from other perspectives.

nubs said,

Seems to be the go to response, what if they changed the search bar to have some kind of retarded purple background? Would you still not care? The problem is that you are calling people complainers simply because it doesn't effect you. The reason you don't understand why this effects people is because you have no empathy and you are self centered. You might comprehend things like this a little better if you actually tried to understand it from other perspectives.

Try being less of a loser, and actually writing something that carries a bit of intelligence. Everything is practically customizable on Google's applications. Maybe you didn't read everything I wrote, but using the Google toolbar prevents anyone from having to view any backgrounds whatsoever. So therefore there is no point even setting your home page to Google, since setting it to any other page will add functionality to your life, and you can still use the Google toolbar.

It definitely didn't work in my opinion. Google's homepage has always been known for it's minimalistic style with coloured logo and white background. It just didn't look right with the custom backgrounds and white logo. Plus it did load up slowly, not too slowly, but a noticeable delay. Stick to the cool Google Doodles and better still, the interactive Google Doodles! (e.g. Pac Man!)

In other news, I miss the cool Google X

I never really see Google's homepage in the first place since I search from my browser's search bar, but I didn't really care for the photos. They were pretty low resolution and pixelated a lot on my screen.

Elliott said,
I never really see Google's homepage in the first place since I search from my browser's search bar, but I didn't really care for the photos. They were pretty low resolution and pixelated a lot on my screen.

Not sure how you managed that. The one I'm looking at right now is 1600 x 1200 and my screen resolution is less (At work) I assume it would load something with better res on a higher screen resolution, though I have yet to test it.

I thought it was pretty stupid of them to automatically change it. It's obnoxious and completely defeats the purpose to why most people i know went to google in the first place. Bad move on their part.

nubs said,
I thought it was pretty stupid of them to automatically change it. It's obnoxious and completely defeats the purpose to why most people i know went to google in the first place. Bad move on their part.

It was a bad move, but they didn't mean to be obnoxious; they just wanted to promote the feature.

Hahaha, this is trending on Twitter: jayfanelli "If Apple ran Google.com, they would've never added a background image. They would've made the white background whiter." lulz

Syanide said,
Hahaha, this is trending on Twitter: jayfanelli "If Apple ran Google.com, they would've never added a background image. They would've made the white background whiter." lulz

I think the original twitter user didn't understand how the iNutjobs actually work ...

IF Google.com would be ran by Apple ...

1. ALL non "Apple-HTML5" compliant browsers would be locked out
2. There would be a iWall Store by now where one could buy backgrounds for at least 0.99$/Pixel
3. Having iTunes, QuickTime and Safari installed would be requirement
4. The ONLY image one could purchase would be a HD wall of his holy iNutjob... erm... iLord iSteve (because allowing custom walls cannot be tolerated at all).

Syanide said,
Hahaha, this is trending on Twitter: jayfanelli "If Apple ran Google.com, they would've never added a background image. They would've made the white background whiter." lulz

LOL! They would also rename it iGoogle!

Bing does it better, remains functional and looks great with nice backgrounds and interesting facts.

Google tried but implementation was awful. They really didn't need to try something similar to Bing, perhaps starting to feel the heat and staying on their toes. I think they jumped the gun again but at least they got some feedback and acted quickly.

Panda X said,
Because it really effects your searches...

I'm assuming you mean 'affects' there? And no, the image itself does not... still, it was a nice change from the standard white.

It slowed the page load for me. If you want a background then make it a background but don't do that retarded fade in crap. That is what annoyed the hell out of me. Just open to the picture and stop trying to show off stupid effects... I just want to search for something. I am not looking for a visual experience just a simple search.

1993 called and they want their fade in effect back.

CyberWolf said,
It slowed the page load for me. If you want a background then make it a background but don't do that retarded fade in crap. That is what annoyed the hell out of me. Just open to the picture and stop trying to show off stupid effects... I just want to search for something. I am not looking for a visual experience just a simple search.

1993 called and they want their fade in effect back.

I agree with you about the affects. They are not needed at all. They are a search engine not a multimedia company! lol. Backgrounds can be a nice subtle touch, but there is need for all the extra fancy stuff too.

You'd rather the image abruptly appeared? How about we even go back to images progressively appearing, line by line? Or that weird increase in resolution thing? That's just silly. Fading is /not/ old school.

Kirkburn said,
You'd rather the image abruptly appeared? How about we even go back to images progressively appearing, line by line? Or that weird increase in resolution thing? That's just silly. Fading is /not/ old school.

I for one am not considering fading old school, but I consider the way that they are doing it to be too much for a search engine page. They at least need to optimize it.

Kirkburn said,
You'd rather the image abruptly appeared? How about we even go back to images progressively appearing, line by line? Or that weird increase in resolution thing? That's just silly. Fading is /not/ old school.

Background usually appear in one hit... Line by line is normally just images inserted on sites loading... Its hard to tell, all i know is Bing images load in one hit always when i load it... Anyways... how long does 150k take to load these days?

I love Microsoft's responses to this. I can see why some didn't like Google's approach, it looked quite tacky compared to how it is implemented on Bing and one couldn't even read the text/links on Google, with their backgrounds enabled.

Still, it made a nice change to the boring, plain white background.

Calum said,
I love Microsoft's responses to this. I can see why some didn't like Google's approach, it looked quite tacky compared to how it is implemented on Bing and one couldn't even read the text/links on Google, with their backgrounds enabled.

Still, it made a nice change to the boring, plain white background.

I can agree with that fact! They need to have code in place that can change the text by detecting the major colors in an image and contrasting the text with it. They already do it with their default images! It isn't much more work to detect the colors in any other image as far as I am aware. Also, If there is one thing I have learned, it is that you can never make people completely happy. If you give them a bar of gold, they will want 100 bars of gold. That is the lesson that Google should take away from this in my opinion. I could be wrong, but that is how I see it.

DARKFiB3R said,
Still enabled for me. Currently using a lovely picture of Emily Scott in a camo bikini

If you picked a custom background for yourself, it will be enabled. They had it pull up a random background for anyone that wasn't logged in, that's pretty much what the complaining was about.

I like the feature, but only for their default selection of backgrounds. It makes the page look nice. Minimalism is a good thing, but not when you have to take it to an extreme. The images at least make the page more pleasant to view. That is one of the reasons that I use Bing a lot. It is pleasant to view.

I like the Bing backgrounds, but the full screen image on Google was a bit... overwhelming for me, and the Google logo looked stupid. I also found the quality of the images to be quite poor.

Good intentions, but a fail implementation.

And no way to disable it. You open google.com in IE and watch, how slowly picture appears in the browser. Even after logging off it still was there (I was to lazy to clean up the cockies and just used to another computer)

cpu said,
And no way to disable it. You open google.com in IE and watch, how slowly picture appears in the browser. Even after logging off it still was there (I was to lazy to clean up the cockies and just used to another computer)

Cockies?

Majesticmerc said,
I like the Bing backgrounds, but the full screen image on Google was a bit... overwhelming for me, and the Google logo looked stupid. I also found the quality of the images to be quite poor.

Good intentions, but a fail implementation.


The Bing backgrounds are nice because there are hyperlinks within the image for those that are curious about what the picture is and doesn't take up the whole page (at least for better than 800x600 res). Google just threw images behind the search box and took up the entire page regardless of the screen resolution.

Majesticmerc said,
I like the Bing backgrounds, but the full screen image on Google was a bit... overwhelming for me, and the Google logo looked stupid. I also found the quality of the images to be quite poor.

Good intentions, but a fail implementation.

I would rather a larger/scaleable image on bing to be honest to much gray on my screens... At least size to fit the screen height wise.

I also found the white text abit hard to read with that many colours behind it 0_o

crazyfish said,
Every time I went to Google this morning I got distracted looking at the wallpaper. It's no wonder I don't Bing..

How are you distracted by a wallpaper? The search box is the same place it always was

glad they fixed it early i like the plain background
that why i chose google over yahoo all those years ago when i started using the internet

Mine was always regular white background with an option asking me for a custom one... also... really, complaining that they made it prettier instead of just plain white? People complain about the most mundane things.

...maybe because it wasn't prettier? I like the idea, but they way the implemented it was absolutely awful. They literally just throw a picture up there and put drop shadow on all the random text, making it look like an amateur design job. The reason Bing works is because the layout is specifically made for pictures, Google's layout is most certainly not.

Not to mention it slows down the homepage if you are on a lower end laptop or netbook.

Also, the reason you didnt see the forced background (without logging in) is probably because you were either signed in or didnt go to the homepage this morning.

People like to complain about the most pointless things. I'm shocked no one complains about when Google changes their logo around.

MytMowse said,
People like to complain about the most pointless things. I'm shocked no one complains about when Google changes their logo around.

Oh don't you worry, there have been complaints about that too

MytMowse said,
People like to complain about the most pointless things. I'm shocked no one complains about when Google changes their logo around.

Pointless things? What about loading google in 5 or more sec? During the loading time, you cannot do anything Bing at least loads images in background, leaving you the oportunity to do searches in the meantime.

m4n3 said,

Pointless things? What about loading google in 5 or more sec?.

Wow i thought 36k modem was not used anymore.

Google doesn't take more time to load on my computer when the background is enabled.

LaP said,

Wow i thought 36k modem was not used anymore.

Google doesn't take more time to load on my computer when the background is enabled.

2 mb images aren't loaded in 1ms even on 10mbit

It just doesn't look right when you add a background. They look just as bad as having a firefox persona. Just a random picture that doesn't blend well with the objects on the page.

I use a blank page as my startup page and have always just used the search bar on my browser. I probably wouldn't have even noticed this change anyway if it wasn't for reading the news

buckhole said,
It just doesn't look right when you add a background. They look just as bad as having a firefox persona. Just a random picture that doesn't blend well with the objects on the page.

I use a blank page as my startup page and have always just used the search bar on my browser. I probably wouldn't have even noticed this change anyway if it wasn't for reading the news

Eh, not sure how FF personas are so bad. I'm guessing you haven't found the right one for you. I like mine and it's quite unobtrusive, heck it's even a nice distraction to look at when I'm doing some brainstorming.

As to the blank home page, I'll agree that I do that as well, but I visit google.com at least twenty times/day... usually more.

Remote Sojourner said,

I would if the results were of any use.


You obviously haven't tried it with an unbiased mind, if you don't think the results are of any use.

Calum said,

You obviously haven't tried it with an unbiased mind, if you don't think the results are of any use.

I've tried all the other search engines and they seldom pull in more exact information and put it up top like Google does.

windowspczone said,
Try Bing then! :L

Try to use bing regularly but always go back to google, as the search results are always more defined. Yes, i'm biased used Microsoft for 20 odd years,as forced to use their products at work.

Happy to use linux and google when im at home lol

+20

The search result now is look like bing. Bigger Textbox and Search button, plus filter on the right. Cheeezzz

They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

KoL said,
They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

Same here.

KoL said,
They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

Same here, I never saw this BG on any of my machines

KoL said,
They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

i think it depended on you .extention, for me .com was normal but .co.uk had a background by default.
although the link mentioned in the main article was working for me so i just disabled the background.

philcruicks said,

i think it depended on you .extention, for me .com was normal but .co.uk had a background by default.
although the link mentioned in the main article was working for me so i just disabled the background.

I had .com and I saw the backgrounds.

KoL said,
They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

It had a background images about 12 hours ago.

KoL said,
They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

mine stayed blank/white... and that was .com and on chrome and firefox, which is good, the less the better, faster...

philcruicks said,

i think it depended on you .extention, for me .com was normal but .co.uk had a background by default.
although the link mentioned in the main article was working for me so i just disabled the background.

Yes, it depended on your extension. For example, Google Romania ( .ro ) had a bug. It had an image from the start, and the link to choose an image. Using the link, it will change the background image, and the link will change into "remove image". But if you click the "remove image" link, the background image will not be removed , but changed back into the first one. So I was stuck with an image all the time, even if I hate it! So it's good they've disabled it.

I was getting forced backgrounds also. If I clicked the 'Remove wallpaper' link it just reverted to another picture - I had to sign in and then go into Editors Picks and right at the bottom find a plain white image to use as the background.

There was no way, without being signed in, to eliminate the background picture! I really don't know what Google were thinking.

KoL said,
They were on by default? My background was alway white with "Change background image" text on bottom left.

Same here.

I have never seen a background on Google.