Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Horizons

Remove Google background, critics plead

Across the Web, a virtual mob demanded that Google remove its new background – forever. And eventually, Google showed it was listening.

By Matthew Shaer / June 10, 2010

Remove it! Even marine life was roaring about the new Google background.

Newscom

Enlarge

We're not quite willing to put the backlash at Facebook levels, but the kickback against the new Google background was fast, furious, and unremitting. One way to measure the level of anger at Google is by the sheer amount of people – presumably numbering in the tens of thousands – who have spent the morning typing phrases such as "remove Google wallpaper" and "remove Google background image" into their search bar.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

We've posted a quick primer on how to remove the Google wallpaper, but try not to worry too much – as of this afternoon, Google had replaced the colorful background with standard issue white, and promised that by tomorrow, things on the Google landing page would be totally back to normal.

Still, the amount of invective hurled at Google today has been remarkable, especially considering Google's stellar track record when it comes to responding to complaints. Buzz: Fixed within a few days. Nexus One customer service: Eventually got its act together. Google backgrounds: Back to white within 10 hours.

One of the loudest critics of the Google background has been ZDNet's David Gewirtz, who has railed at length against the pixel-heavy photos that garnished the Google home page. "Separate from aesthetic preferences, this image slows things down," Gewirtz writes. "Google has repeatedly said that one of its key strategic advantages has been its lightning-fast page loads. These images remove that advantage."

Meanwhile, Twitter users had a field day teeing off on the Google background, which was called "ugly" and "distracting." A user named @leemathews has offered up a suggestion for making the best out of the new design. "Epic win: horribly cluttery Google wallpaper paired with Pac-Man doodle. Do it to a coworker, sit back, enjoy the LOL," he writes.

Over at the Google help forums, the tone of the comments isn't much nicer. "Google, are you listening? You’re freaking us out! I like the simplicity of Google. Everything else on the Web is too busy and complicated. It was nice to at least start searching from a simple and peaceful place," one user complained.

"No Options?" complained another. "I am starting to get sick of this!"

But Google has been listening. At about 1 p.m. EST, Marissa Mayer, the Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, took to her Twitter feed to explain that the background was temporary. Mayer also apologized to users. "There was supposed to be a link explaining what was going on (only one day, etc.), due to a bug it wasn't showing," she wrote.

Permissions

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story