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Remove Google background images once and for all

Three fool-proof ways to remove Google background images.

By / June 10, 2010

Google background images took over the homepage today, but here's how to use your own pictures.

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Perhaps Google went overboard today. Just as the Pacman game banner drove some users batty, today's wallpaper is a little too much for a sizable bloc of Google's fans.

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"Google is supposed to be clean and simple that's why people use Google and not Bing," writes one Monitor reader. "This is just annoying."

So, here are three easy ways to remove Google background images.

Option 1: White wash

At least for today, Google will not let you remove their default wallpaper. You can, however, plaster your own image on top of it. But there's no way to strip them all out; the homepage will keep reverting to photos of Jeff Koons' shiny sculptures.

You could wait it out. With rare exceptions, Google always retires its homepage flourishes after 24 hours. But, if you can't stand the photo, here's a way to outsmart it: upload an all-white image. By sticking an albino wallpaper over today's default, Google will look like itself again.

We even saved you the hassle of making an all-white image yourself. In the image box at the top of this story, click the arrow to see photo "2 of 2." Save that stark-white picture to your desktop. Then, upload it as your Google background image. It's a MacGyver move, but it works.

Option 2: Escape the country

Google has not imposed a custom background on Ireland yet. So, cruise over to Google Ireland – http://www.google.ie/ – and use its search engine for the day. As with fast food in other countries, your search results might seem a little different from those back home. But what do you expect? The site is designed for our friends across the pond.

Option 3: Lock it down

If you don't want search results with an international flavor, try out Google's secure-search site: https://www.google.com/. Note the extra "s" in "https." This version of Google's site doesn't offer special wallpapers. Also, with this more secure version of Google "you can have an end-to-end encrypted search solution between your computer and Google," reads the site's official FAQ. "This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party. This provides you with a more secure and private search experience."

Today seems to be a rare misstep from a company known for subtlety – have you seen the Easter eggs hidden throughout Google's many pages? The company even rolled out a clever, understated wink to World Cup fans under the noses of most users.

Then again, maybe the critics are simply the loudest. Are you a fan of today's wallpaper? Can you think up other ways to remove Google background images? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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