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June 10, 2010

Google Promotes Homepage Wallpapers

Google's wallpaper feature is now available internationally and Google tries to convince people to change the background using a trick. Google's homepages in France, UK, Canada and many other countries have a default background image.

Marissa Mayer, from Google, explains why Google's homepage no longer has background image today: "To provide you with an extra bit of inspiration, we've collaborated with several well-known artists, sculptors and photographers to create a gallery of background images you can use to personalize your Google homepage. Included in the collection are photographs of the works of Dale Chihuly, Jeff Koons, Tom Otterness, Polly Apfelbaum, Kengo Kuma (隈研吾), Kwon, Ki-soo (권기수) and Tord Boontje, as well as some incredible photos from Yann Arthus-Bertrand and National Geographic. We'll be featuring these images as backgrounds on the Google homepage over the next 24 hours."

The only option displayed is "Change background image", which requires to login using a Google account and lets you pick a background image. If you don't like the wallpaper chosen by Google, you'll use the option to customize it.


That's quite clever, but Google didn't consider that some users don't like to see a background image. If you pick an image and select "Remove background image", Google shows one of the default wallpapers. Fortunately, the promotion only lasts a day.

What you can do is to pick a background image, wait until tomorrow when Google's classic homepage will be available again or use Google SSL homepage, Google's Firefox homepage, the Linux template and other similar interfaces. Another option is to use Opera, which is not supported by Google.

When you pick a background image, one of the options is a plain white background:



Update: Google's promotion ended 10 hours earlier. "We had planned to run an explanation of the showcase alongside it—in the form of a link on our homepage. 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," explains Marissa Mayer.

Maybe Google should stop showing full-page doodles and games when you visit Google's homepage. There are many subtle ways to promote a service or celebrate an event without annoying your users. For example, Google could show a game, an animation or a background image when you click on a doodle.

43 comments:

  1. This makes it so not google. I hate the idea and the experiment.

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  2. That has to be one of the most stupid things Google has ever done...

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  3. Alternatively, should you find the inclusion of a background picture intolerable for some reason, you can also choose the white background image from the "Editor's Picks" section.

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  4. There's some serious hatred going on from Anonymous, in this thread
    They only changed the background image for a day :P

    Would be nice if this image was synced across the custom google homepage. I've never really liked the way that handled themes.
    Also seems odd that they rely on text shadows to increase visibility, with no fallback for non-supporting internet explorer. Readability is quite affected there.

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  5. Great, I picked one, now how do I change it? -_-

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  6. Is there any way of downloading the image to set as my desktop background rather than Google background?

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  7. Dumb stunt intended to showcase a "me too's a Bing" feature. Coupled with the search page redesign, this is a dangerous precedent: if you'd like to see how Google will look like in a few months, check out latest Bing layout today. Ouch.

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  8. There's a white image available in the end of the list, so you can just change it to white...

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  9. the "white" background is just as crappy .. it removes ALL color

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  10. @Anonymous (the one at June 10, 2010 2:40 AM)

    right click the image and choose 'save background image as'
    if that doesn't work you can always use the developer tool inside your browser to get the image path, navigate to it and save it

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  11. I remember the first time I discovered google. Wow finaly a slim very fast search engine! I thought it was impossible finding information in less thatn 30 seconds (Lycos), but there it was, 2 students were able to do it. Now google has reached corporate size and lost all touch with its users. It keeps adding loads of shit (come on who allowed the fading?). Anyone who just launches a lite site with the same search engine speed as google can make some serious bucks. I doubt it can reach google size, but as a good old trustworthy search engine, theres just notting better.

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  12. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I'm really starting to hate you Google. Dumbasses.

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  13. Well, Coke had to change back to classic. Maybe there's hope that Google will also listen. After all, they are the industry standard and others like Bing will always have to resort to cheap tricks to get attention. I'll wait to see before choosing another home page.

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  14. This is not Google. Pooh

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  15. http://search.yahoo.com
    Nice clean search page.

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  16. I like it... But I guess I'm the only one. Of speed is an issue, upgrade up from dial up and quit crying about it. If you don't like the design, several options are shared here to get around it.

    Personaly, I'd like to see how I can get my picasa images in a background on my page.

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  17. I didn't think it was possible for anything to suck and blow at the same time... BUT THIS WALLPAPER THING DOES!!!

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  18. horrible. If I wanted to use Bing, I'd use Bing.

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  19. It would have better by far to have asked us 'the public' via a link on the google logo before just doing it. This was very arrogant. This was compounded by not providing a revert to normal link along side the 'change the wallpaper' link. Again this was very arrogant.
    Dimming out the text to change the wallpaper unless the user accidentally scrolls over it is either poorly thought out or arrogant.
    As is often the case large successful organizations often become complacent or / and arrogant towards their customers.
    Google - you can do better.

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  20. *nods sadly* this confused a couple of ppl i know :-/ a 'i don't want it' link would have been nice

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  21. Change it back! I loved the white, it's the main reason I go to Google.

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  22. www.duckduckgo.com has the write idea for a search engine home page.

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  23. Why are all of you commenting anonymously?

    In any case, it's really quite telling that there isn't a single comment in support of this feature on this post. A decision to do a thing so radical on the homepage had to come from a top exec. I'm very curious as to who at Google felt that this was so important that they actually authorized it -- particularly without an obvious option to turn it off. This stinks of being a classic case where an exec rams a bad decision down everyones' throats then thinks nothing is wrong. It's straight out of the Apple playbook, and you know what? Even the people who worship Apple get disgusted when it happens.

    Take a hint, guys.

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  24. I am glad to read this will be only for a day long. I was really surprised to see this happening automatically, and even more surprised to find out that I could not get rid of it.

    I like the fact that google develops new stuff. But before activating anything, its a good idea to let the user know and actually let him decide whether he want to try or not. All people I have spoken with about this were as annoyed as me. Not being asked for this kind of things is being too agressive with the user comunity, and people do not like that.

    I hope they learn from their mistakes, like this one.

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  25. I am glad to see that it has gone back to being just a plain white background. One of the things I've always appreciated about the landing page was the simplicity and central focus of the search box. I don't like anything taking away from that.

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  26. it is only for a day! What is wrong with you people? It is kinda like the Google Doodles, some days they change the doodle. It doesn't affect the search results at all! Besides, unlike Google Doodles, this is a one time thing!!!

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  27. "It doesn't affect the search results at all!"
    Who cares about the search results? Its the LOOK and FEEL of google we care about, and they handled this promo with their heads in their asses, the doodle should have had a "this background wallpaper rotation is only a promo and will be gone in 24 hours"

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  28. http://www.Bing.com mejores fotos =)

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  29. This is a dumb attempt to mimic the slow, fussy Bing search page no one uses BECAUSE IT'S SLOW AND FUSSY! Idiots!

    Yes, they should have said it was a 24 hour deal - the Change Background Image control implied it was permanent. This is yet another 'improvement' sapping the goodwill for Google gained from years of doing simple stuff that worked.

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  30. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Why don't they just promote iGoogle, and let the idiots destroy that. On the Internet, you lead or follow ... Google just took a 180 degree wrong turn. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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  31. Could this not have been done as some funky Doodle? I mean, they came up with a way to play Pacman on this page, yet they could not come up with a creative way to intro this feature? Come on Google!

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  32. Grow up people. Google is it's own company, it can do what it likes.

    And I like what it does.

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  33. The above Anonymous must be a Google employee\shareholder...

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  34. I loved it. Now I'm busy trying to find some of those amazing pictures again. Thanks Google!

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  35. I LOVED IT!!!..... WHERE IS IT NOW???

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  36. I like it!!!! and still using it

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  37. I use Google Browser + wallpapers for new tab created via http://chromizer.com/ + google search from address bar.

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