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May 30, 2008

New Google Favicon

Many people noticed a small change: Google has a new favicon. A favicon is a small image that is generally used to reflect the identity of a web site. You can find it in the address bar, in your browser's tabs, in the list of bookmarks or in some feed readers like Bloglines.

Google's favicon is hosted at and it's a 16x16 pixels image, a standard size for favicons. Google replaced the upper-case "G" in blue border, green and red borders with a lower-case purple "g" in a rounded corner rectangle.

The first time when I saw the new favicon at Google Image Search, I thought there was something wrong with my browser's cache or I typed an incorrect address. Google's new favicon is less cheerful and comforting, but it makes a lot of sense: the small g is a symbol for infinity (∞). A googol (10100) is just a poor approximation for the huge amount of information that needs to be indexed, organized and made useful by Google.

{ Thanks for the tip, Louis, John and Aleksandr. }

Update: If you want the old favicon back, try this Greasemonkey script (requires Greasemonkey for Firefox, Opera or a userscript plug-in for other browsers).

Update 2: Search Engine Land has an official position from Google. "We recognized there was a need for a Google icon that would better work across multiple applications including web, mobile and client applications. We felt the small 'g' had many of the characteristics that best represent our brand: it's simple, playful, and unique. We will be looking to improve and enhance this icon as we move forward."

Update 3: Google says this is not the final favicon. "We tried in total more than 300 permutations [some of them are displayed below]. It was much harder than we thought at first. We wanted something distinctive and noticeable, so we aimed toward transparency or semi-transparency, so the image would have a more distinctive noticeable shape than just a block. We wanted something that embraced the colorfulness of the logo, yet wouldn't date itself." If you have some suggestions for Google's favicon, send them here.

Update: The favicon was updated in January 2009.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.