Google has stopped using Bing-like photo backgrounds on its home page by default.
Marissa Mayer, the art-loving Google executive in charge of search products and user experience, confirmed via Twitter that the page is back to “normal” this morning.
Mayer wrote that “There was supposed to be a link explaining what was going on (only one day, etc.), due to a bug it wasn’t showing.”
That was followed up with an update on the Google blog at 11:31 explaining what happened:
Last week, we launched the ability to set an image of users’ choosing as the background for the Google homepage. Today, we ran a special “doodle” that showcased this functionality by featuring a series of images as the background for our homepage. 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. We appreciate your feedback and patience as we experiment and iterate.
Mayer’s June 2 announcement of the feature said users would be able to switch back and forth between a photo background and the plain white field.
If you still want to Bingify your Google home page, there’s a button in the lower left corner that calls up optional wallpaper images.
Options include a work by one of Mayer’s favorite artists, Tacoma native Dale Chihuly.
Apparently Google’s Chihuly installation was almost as controversial as a Seattle company’s attempt to develop a Chihuly attraction on public property at Seattle Center. Maybe people feel like Google’s home page is also a public place?
Here’s the Chihuly Niijima Floats Google design: