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Google Introduces, Then Scraps, Bing-Style Background Images 466

Posted by timothy
from the go-beyond-your-imitations dept.
NIN1385 writes "Google has scrapped the now infamous background image option on its homepage. After 14 hours of a scheduled 24-hour experiment to see how people liked (or disliked) the new homepage layout, the company must have found out it was very disliked. I guess the fact that 'remove Google background' was the seventh most searched for phrase today might have had something to do with it."
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Google Introduces, Then Scraps, Bing-Style Background Images

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  • I still see the link (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iamapizza (1312801) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:00PM (#32527250)
    The feature still seems to be available - so you can set an image if you want, but I guess they won't be providing you with one of their own picked images as a default.
  • About time too! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:05PM (#32527320)

    The popularity of Google was and will always be because of less clutter compared to Yahoo, MSN, Altavista. Fast loading of their homepage was why I stuck with them even though their searches some times were not as precise as others in some areas.

    I don't want them to go Bing's way. White is good enough for me.

  • Resistance to change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dward90 (1813520) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:05PM (#32527326)
    Google is finding out again (and has found out before) that, because they are the default search engine for so many people, they can't really make large interface changes. I recall reading that they would like to remove the "I'm feeling lucky" button (because no one uses it), but they can't. Users simply can't handle large changes. This is a sad truth of many consumers, especially in computers: change of any kind prohibits many users from functioning, even when that change would have almost no impact on them.
  • by quantumplacet (1195335) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:08PM (#32527360)

    That's a pretty false dichotomy. Yes, the majority of people do seem to like Google better than they like Bing, Yahoo etc. But that doesn't mean all those people think everything Google does is perfect and they never want anything changed or have any new features added. Ultimately, if Google took your advice and search development became completely stagnant, then eventually the other search providers would improve over time and overtake Google.

  • I actually liked it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EMR (13768) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:13PM (#32527448)

    I just wished it would have shown the background in the search results too:)

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:13PM (#32527454) Homepage Journal

    See, it was all a plan - give us a day of "Google as Bing" and demonstrate with cold hard data that people don't like Bing's style and prefer Google. Shut up carpers among stockholders that were screaming "do something!" to respond to Bing grabbing 2 percent market share, AND wipe MS's nose it it.

    Yeah, that was the plan all along.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:18PM (#32527506)

    Haha, yeah, I'm sure MS if gloating about how Google copied them. On the other hand, the response to the 'Bing' flavored Google was overwhelmingly negative, which can't make them feel too good. Especially since a lot of the comments that I saw were along the lines of "If I wanted this crap I would go use Bing".

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:28PM (#32527674) Journal
    Actually it's not like it's better to have a background, or worse. It's just different. People find change jarring.

    It's all perfectly natural that people want Google the way it always used to be... What I find amusing is the people going into length explanations about why a background image is such a terrible thing.

    It's the New Coke thing again. In blind tasting, people preferred New Coke. When it was actually sold as something different, people hated it.
  • by mikael_j (106439) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:30PM (#32527710)

    That's actually a very common IT/software dev reaction to marketing decisions, "Fine, we'll spend three weeks building this feature and make sure to make it log everything just so we can get them to realize that it's pointless".

  • by Flipao (903929) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:33PM (#32527790)
    Funnily enough email addresses with the word spam on them get no spam at all, the word is stripped by pretty much every sniffer out there :)
  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:43PM (#32527948)

    I can't really give a rational reason, but I like going to the google page instead of using the search field.. (except when the horrid picture was there). I don't know, I guess part of it is that I'm used to it, and google loading also just shows me that my net connection is working. (At home I have to wireless routers, one as a bridge to another, for Tivos and my laptop -- I usually use the laptop connected to the other router to connect to the local Tivos.)

  • Re:Thanks god. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by leptons (891340) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:53PM (#32528096)
    Too many cooks in the web2.0 kitchen. I agree it is a lame feature. it only frustrates me when i want to go immediately to maps or images, but i have to wait for that stupid f$@#*ing fade-in. I'm a web developer, and I ABSOLUTELY HATE the way so many interfaces in the world these days hide information by default, like microsoft hiding their menus until you press the ALT key.. whoever thought that up should have their computing privleges revoked. Important menus should never be hidden by default. Google could have faded those menu elements in from a lighter text color instead of hiding them completely - that way they would not distract from whatever they want users to focus on, but they also wouldn't be hidden from people who just want to get to maps or images or any of the other tools in their menu.
  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:55PM (#32528118) Journal

    Yeah, they should make a 20MB video of that person getting an ass kicking the new default background on Google!

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:58PM (#32528158)

    But when you send anything under such an email address, would it get through any spam filters?

  • Re:Vocal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IronChef (164482) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @04:01PM (#32528216)

    I'll have to check the forums to see if anyone has commented on the ominous warning presented when you try to select a photo:

    "Only select images that you have confirmed that you have the license to use."

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @04:08PM (#32528306) Homepage

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away"

    The google homepage was perfect, practically from it's inception, up to a few years ago.
    Recent experiments have made me switch from a search engine homepage, to the firefox search bar. Since the firefox bar is a list, it also encourages me to shop around for results.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @04:14PM (#32528374)

    While I do like Google, it's impossible to say whether Google remains dominant because people really do prefer it over the alternatives, or simply because it's dominant and people either 1) don't know about the alternatives, or 2) assume that Google's search results will be the best because it's dominant.

    It's a bit like Microsoft's desktop monopoly. They certainly don't have 90+% marketshare because they're far-and-away better than everything else out there.

    It's in Google's best interest to make sure that they continue to do the things that people want them to, so they stay popular and dominant, and don't get overtaken by someone else by surprise.

    Even if most people really did think that Google's search results were the best, that doesn't necessarily mean they prefer its minimalist home page. Of course, after this experiment, it looks like Google can conclude they really did prefer it, but before this, they didn't know.

  • by jayme0227 (1558821) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @04:23PM (#32528482) Journal

    Bing is my primary search engine and I'm a huge fan of its background images, but there was something about Google's execution of the background image that just irked me. Whether it was the white Google lettering, the full screen image rather than just partial screen, or merely the fact that they were copying Microsoft, it seemed... off.

    I guess my point is that the background images being bad for Google doesn't necessarily mean that they're bad for search engines, but just that this particular execution wasn't good.

  • by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:37PM (#32529408) Homepage

    What blew my mind about this issue is this thought I had: "Why would Google want to imitate Bing?"

    I use Google precisely because they're not Microsoft.

    Microsoft should aspire to be more like Google. The day Google aspires to be more like Microsoft is the day I look for another search provider.

  • by oakgrove (845019) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:03PM (#32529680)
    At the risk of redundancy, this was how I interpreted the experiment too. The fact that if any Googlers stray to Bing after this, the first thing they will be reminded of is the hated Google Image day and instantly be turned off. Brilliantly played.
  • by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:22PM (#32529914)

    Maybe I'm just lucky, but this is spam protection I'd be willing to pay for (but please don't tell Google).

    Corporations do pay for it, as the service Postini. We use it at my company to prevent spam from getting through to our Exchange server.

    I think one reason it works so well is that between Gmail users and corporate Postini customers, Google has a huge fresh corpus of data to train the system, and to identify new spam campaigns right away. For instance if the same e-mail hits a ton of addresses at the same time, it's a good bet it's a spam campaign.

  • Hidden Psychology (Score:2, Interesting)

    by muphin (842524) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @06:55PM (#32530230) Homepage
    what I believe is, Google did this on purpose to encourage people to complain.
    what this mean is 2 fold; 1. google gets in the news about a change to their site, people go to the site to check it out and complain.. 2. site gets returned to normal, people feel relaxed and happy its back and then googles some more, by doing this google refreshes its image as a simple search engine, because people still have in their minds, OMG how could you change this... boosts profits of advertising and encourages loyalty.

    People complaining about google doesn't mean much to them, especially with something minor such as changing a background. but have 20 million people see this and then realise its gone will bring (if only temporary) a sign of relief. think of it as a carrot process, you entice users by showing something they dislike and then reward them when they find something they like, it makes the users feel accomplished and feel more part of the process.

    now think of when those people are relieved they will then make use of this new fancy search engine they helped make.... even if it is an illusion.

    remember they arent just IT techs at google, they have psychologists too.

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