Google Home Page Automatically Changing Background Image On June 10th

If you visit Google today, you may notice the home page is a bit different. About a week ago, Google began letting users to upload their own background images on, to help them customize the Google home page.

To drive more awareness to this feature and to inspire users to change their home page, Google teamed up with “several well-known artists, sculptors and photographers to create a gallery of background images you can use to personalize your Google homepage.” Over the next 24 hours, when you visit, the home page will feature one of those custom backgrounds.

The artists and pictures come from Dale Chihuly, Jeff Koons, Tom Otterness, Polly Apfelbaum, Kengo Kuma (隈研吾), Kwon, Ki-soo (권기수) and Tord Boontje, as well as some incredible photos from Yann Arthus-Bertrand and National Geographic.

Also, this feature of changing the home page is now available internationally.

Postscript From Danny Sullivan: This is a remarkable move by Google. When they launched the background image feature last week, it already appeared as if they were copying Bing, though they denied that:

“The real motivation for this had to do with iGoogle,” said Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience. “Some users really prefer the classic look but want a small amount of personalization, so this is a happy medium in between.” She added, “We think it has the same type of appeal that wallpaper does on your desktop or your phone.”

Of course, Bing automatically shows a picture on its home page while Google, even with its new feature, did not. But now, Google’s doing a direct copy, even if only for a day. The company that claims it never wants to copy someone else is, well, copying Bing.

Personally, I suspect this will be a way for Google to gather data on whether its users like the background images. If so, then I can see down the line that they continue to be shown for everyone, with Google claiming it’s due to user demand.

Regardless, Bing’s 1-year anniversary is today, and Google’s move is probably making a lot of people smile over there.

There’s also lots of reaction on Techmeme.

NOTE: See Official: Google Removes Auto-Background Feature.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Logos | Google: User Interface


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • chiropractic

    My first thought, annoying as hell, where is my clean white screen? I’ll continue searching from the browser toolbar.

  • lestarte

    …and they have a 1440×900 resolution (at least on google.DE) and are saved in the following form:

  • lestarte
  • guy75

    If you don’t like their background, create your own. Mine is mostly white – check out

  • davide corradi

    You can get rid of Google background simply switching your user agent to Googlebot . Easy as that..

  • SEOIvan

    whoever made the decision to unroll this for all user is a complete idiot and should be fire. what the f** are they thinking.
    idiots. I always think google is very smart in the way the handle their competition, and the how they grow, but this is by far one of the most idiotic decisions this company made.

  • pinecroftcottage

    Davide Corradi – How do you switch your user agent to Googlebot, for those of us that have no clue what that means? Step by step instructions would be useful.

  • patm

    Annoying. What was really annoying is that it just happened without me doing anything. I would have received it better if I had an option to change it instead of Google making that decision for me. It also took a while get rid of it. If I wanted a background, I would have been using another search engine.

  • THorse

    One solution that worked was on the browser, going to Tools > Options > General Tab > Homepage > (change to ) > Click OK. this way, the annoying background images of will not load and you are left with a clean search page everytime you click the homepage.
    no need to log in to create your own background through google account.

  • VDR

    @pinecroftcottage Download the Firefox add-on User Agent Switcher from and once it’s installed, from Firefox’s Tools menu, navigate to “Default User Agent” > “Search Robots” > “Googlebot 2.1″. And then refresh the page.
    Alternatively, you can set your browser’s home page Firefox branded Google page – (change the country code as necessary).

  • bizzylizzy

    I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dlminton


    Why on earth is there no quick way to revert to a white background? It is not that I ever visit the page itself anyway, I always use the google toolbar, but jeeeeez, this is so poorly thought out.

    Most of my clients are barely capable of discerning the difference between an address bar and a search window, and now I am going to have to explain to them that they will need to create a white image and upload it to get back to the clean interface???

    Once again Google drops a bomb that is not “trivial” and abandons a fundamental element of their look and feel….WTF

  • dobson

    I had this problem – go to tools then add ons. It gives you the choice of the one you have and don’t want, and the default, plain one.

  • hobbo

    I wish that google would stop messing about with the home page,I am of to MSN.

  • hobbo

    Of to MSN.  Cant do with google messing about ,why cant they leave things alone if there working?

  • Wellnes Yoga

    Wellness by Yoga is an India based organization providing education consulting to international students and travel related services to foreigners who intend to visit India for yoga, meditation, ayurveda therapies or tourism purpose.

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