Google takes a page from Bing's homepage

By on June 10, 2010, 11:06 AM
Tired of Google's white homepage? Starting today the search giant is letting users customize its famously spartan home page with photos of their own or from a public gallery featuring the works of professional artists, by clicking a link on the bottom left corner. This is a major shift in the company's design philosophy. Google says the move is aimed at making the "search experience more relevant, useful and fun through personalization." It also makes them look a lot like Bing.

Microsoft's search engine has provided changing daily backgrounds since the service launched in May 2009. On the other hand, Google's approach to its home page has always been minimalistic, based on the notion that people want lightning-fast page loads and no distractions. These background images might remove that advantage by slowing things down a bit. Unfortunately, it seems there is no easy way of reverting to the original white background for now.

Feedback is mixed -- if not leaning towards negative. Some say this shows how Google has been feeling the heat from Microsoft's Bing search engine, while others have already "threatened" to switch providers. ZDNet's David Gewirtz also makes an interesting (albeit a tad exaggerated) point suggesting the change could have deeper consequences for the company, hurting its iconic image and confusing less-savvy users about the service they are using.

However, it seems the default Bing-like background image is just part of a 24-hour introduction of the feature, with backgrounds rotating on a random basis. Google's plain white search page is expected to return tomorrow, so they won't have to worry much about deflecting users and those who like the custom backgrounds feature can still make use of it.

Update: Amid a storm of criticism online, Google has decided to cut short its 24-hour experiment and stop loading the background image by default, leaving the option open to anyone who wants to use it.

User Comments: 18

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KG363 KG363 said:

haha. That's hilarious that they copied bing.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That is SO weak...

Guest said:

LOL! Wait a second...didn't Apple invent images? So really Google has copied Apple! :)

maestromasada said:

why don't they put a pic with the bing background? more clearly impossible

Guest said:

humm... nice!

And who invented the white page? who's copy from who?

long story? No! just google copy from altavista, but altavista as copy from yahoo .. as also yahoo copy from bing.. bing copy sapo .. and sapo copy ask .. and ask copy me aol.. and even aol copy from excite, lycoos, hotbot, webcrawler copy from whatever? No from my index "blank page" on text editor!..

I'm f*cking nervous I want my copyrights back!!! I invented the whitepage... humm?

oh no... my monitor had bad color adjustment...

now I see that it's a "yellow page" ..?... ups! it's a Yellow phone page .. :|

i've copied sorry world

poundsmack said:

For the record, did this way before Bing or Google.

tractorphil said:

You can always go back to It still has the white page plus pacman.

Guest said:

Starting today? Lol This feature is a week old.... And why did you say there's no easy way of going back to the blank backgound? You can get the white page back by simply clicking "remove background image" in the left-hand corner, which, just so happens to be clearly visible in the image you posted.

And the reason why the image is the same as Bing's, is because Google bought those pictures from portfolio of a group of professional photographers (which one of them, Mike Knell, happened to also sell his portfolio to Microsoft before). They didn't directly took it from Bing, therefore, the title is misleading, and an example of a poor choice of words.

Lol this post failed.

Guest said:

The feature has been around for a week if you signed in and used it. Also it is already back to a white page as far as I can tell.

Jos Jos said:

@Guest - It started rolling out last week to users who opted-in but today the background was loaded by default.

Also, the link on the bottom left corner says "Change background image" when you first enter Google's homepage. I understand your confusion as in the image accompanying this post the link reads "Remove background image". However, clicking that link restored the initial background image -- NOT the plain white background. I see they have changed that now.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I dunno, the Firefox start page is still white, and is still asking for donations. No magic tick box to be found.

If Mozilla ever offers this option, I think I'll use a picture of a black cat in a coal bin. I'm real sick of getting blown back in my seat by the white start page

Chazz said:

Im curious as to what kind of internet people use to have a single image load considerably slower than google's default page. And I am really offended by the term "less savy" being used to define people that have trouble figuring out what web page they typed out, even when in big letters the search provider's name is spelled out. Call them "Apple Users" or dummies.

Guest said:

I've been using a pic from my personal collection since a few days ago.

Jibberish18 said:

For the record, did this way before Bing or Google.

True. Not like bing does it but true. I thought it was you who chose what picture to put there anyways? I honestly like the idea of images being there. I use Bing as my primary search engine and I enjoy all the funfacts and pictures. I learn lots of new things from them. use to be my favorite but they turned me off with a few features.

Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Heh: "We've lost a background image, if found please return to "

Guest said:

Yeah, googles blank background search engine page was a good idea...

when everyone was stuck on DIALUP.

If you can turn it off & on, that's the best way. If you want it, you can have

it, but if you don't, you should be able to disable it. I don't see it anyway

because on the rare times I use google, I use the firefox plugin anyway.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well I use iGoogle so I wouldn't notice either way. I did however check it out and it does feel strange seeing an image rather then the different daily Google logos showing important dates.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Matthew said:

Heh: "We've lost a background image, if found please return to "

HAHA! Looks like Microsoft does have a little bit of a sense of humor, lol.

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