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You may have been a bit confused a while ago when you opened your Google and thinking, “Wait, I didn’t open Bing” after seeing a very colorful background picture on your browser. Turns out this is what has Google been harping about since last week.

The popular web browser has its homepage decorated with images from artists, sculptors, and photographers from different parts of the world. Users can even use photos from their Picasa album or from their computers. Google intended to display different images on the homepage for 24 hours so the users get acquainted with it.

Observers think that Google is trying to be like its Microsoft-made competitor, and people over at Bing—at least those in Europe—pointed that similarity.

“We’ve lost a background image, if found please return to bing.com ;) ,” Microsoft Europe cheekily posted on Twitter.

But then, Google quickly pulled the plug on the project and the home page returned to its white barrenness after many users thought the change was permanent. Representatives said that a bug caused the explanatory link not to appear for most users. Those who prefer to have images on their backgrounds can do so through a settings option at the bottom of the screen.

The damage has been done, however. Before the pull out, users who wanted to revert to the classic white background found that they were unable to do so and were even forced to create a Google account to add a new image.

“Remove Google background” became one of the top 10 keyword phrases on Google on Thursday and criticism was blatantly expressed through social networking sites like Twitter.

Source: Google Blog, via AFP

 
 

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[...] You may have been a bit confused a while ago when you opened your Google and thinking, Wait, I didn’t open Bing after seeing a very colorful background picture on your browser. Turns out this is what has Google been harping about …Page 2 [...]
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gadgetcom, rica espiritu. rica espiritu said: Gadget News: Google Adds Background Images to its Browser, then Drops it http://ht.ly/17Hg6L [...]
Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Search Products & User Experience, is behind the forced backgrounds debacle. She claimed in her updated Google Blog posting about it that there was a "bug" which erased a link beneath the search box on the Google main search home page which explained why Google's famously spartan look had replaced by Bing-like wallpapers. She added that many searchers on Thursday morning missed the company's blog posting on Wednesday night, and so were confused and annoyed at the change. Oh, yeah... it was that they missed being told about it that so ticked them off. It couldn't possibly have been that they didn't like having it shoved down their throats without their permission, and with no ability to turn it off; or that it was so distracting and so negatively impacted the user experience that it felt to most of them intolerable. It couldn't POSSIBLY have been that. Don't believe a word of it. There was no warning. I was online, using Google at the precise moment that the forced background images began. And when I look at Mayer's blog posting, it's dated/timed at almost exactly that moment. And there was no bug. It's a lie. Yes, I'm here and now calling Marissa Mayer a liar, with all that's biblically negative which can possibly be connoted. I sure hope that one of her people was following her around with a fire extinguisher today, just in case her pants spontaneously combusted. I believe that Ms Mayer, et al, simply unilaterally decided to do it without explanation (other than in the aforementioned blog posting), mistakenly thinking that it was harmless and little different fram when Google replaces its iconic logo for a day on its home page to honor a holiday, or the anniversary of something. In what amounted to an act of unmitigated arrogance, she and her band of the marketing-misguided (who obviously don't have the courage to just be patient and allow the Bing craze to run its course and result in the ultimate return of most who are now trying it out, and who will soon find that Google's still better after all) simply shoved it down our throats, saying, in effect: "You will bygod notice this new feature, and see how nice we think that you think it can be, and consider using it, whether or not you want to; and we get to DO that to you, by the way, BECAUSE WE BYGOD CAN." And as for Mayer's suggestion that users should have noticed her blog entry about it so they wouldn't be upset: I've been using Google since its very first week online, and I HAVE NEVER STARTED A SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE CHECKING THE GOOGLE BLOG FOR ANY REASON; AND NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE WHO DOESN'T EITHER WORK FOR GOOGLE, OR WISH THEY DID. That Ms Mayer believes it's reasonable to expect everyday users to so check -- or that shoving this thing down their throats in the first place -- is a cogent example of the kind of self-righteous, disconnected, oblivious navel self-contemplation that happens in rarefied programming environments like Google's where those who code have completely lost touch with the machinations of the real world. While there is certainly nothing wrong with Google offering the option (and I stress that word: option) of pretty-to-look-at background wallpapers, it was UNCONSCIONABLE to force it upon all of Google's users -- even for only 24 hours -- as a means of making them notice and at least consider using them. My inability to disable it drove me to utter distraction. I'm quite certain that mine was among the very first of what we now know were hundreds of thousands of "how to remove Google background" searches which occurred in the hours immediately after it began, driving that phrase to Google's 7th ranked search term just overnight. Gratefully, the sheer volume of those search requests prompted Google to re-think its egregious behavior and lift its gargantuan knee off the collective chest of its users who have been fiercely loyal throughout the years as search engine competitors have come and gone... and so expected (and deserved) more. Not realizing what Google was doing to me, I attempted to disable it using the link in the lower-left which had earlier worked... to no avail. So, right there is yet another of the sins the misguided Mayer committed: A gross departure from the established user interface, made worse by the counter-intuitive behavior thereof... which any programmer will attest are among the most egregious of possible offenses in the world of software and utilitarian web pages. I'm actually a little surprised that the programmers at Google didn't simply refuse to do it; and it wouldn't surprise me if the "bug" Mayer talked about was little more than that when her people decided to turn on the forced backgrounds themselves, without the help of the programmers whom I'll bet said they'd have no part of it, they couldn't make the explanatory link beneath the search box work. I've been in this game for 33 years, and I know a marketing mindset insurrection when I see one! But it gets worse: The antics of Ms Mayer, et al, had me briefly wondering if some kind of malware had infected my browser; or if someone had hijacked my Google account. The problem is that she and her group simply don't get to DO that sort of thing to people. Our time and energy are valuable, too; and in this age of zero-day exploits which can ruin people's very lives, it's not funny when users are made to panic -- even if only briefly -- about what bad might be going on. I've seen lawsuits for emotional distress be successful over far less. And the technical behavior of the backgrounds were inferior in any case. They faded-in, slowly and in staggers, delaying the page's normal snap to full functionality; and the vast difference in the look of the home page with its background, and the nice, white search results pages, was an eyebrow-furrowing distraction. It was, in a word, MADDENING! We're BUSY out here, Ms Mayer! We don't have TIME for such games and experiments... especially without our consent. Shame on you! This is, without a doubt, the WORST thing that Google has ever done. It tops the somewhat more subtle changes it made a few weeks ago to the behavior and look of the Google search page (and the similar ones it made a year or so before that). It tops the dysfunction-making changes to the way one is able to build searches for the user-created sections of one's Google News page. It tops how Google has made it so it's simply no longer possible to actually communicate with anyone there regarding almost anything. It tops the outrageousness of the hoops through which GMAIL users must jump to regain control of their hijacked accounts... even when the only reason they got hijacked in the first place was because of Google's faulty security. And I could go on and on. I rarely call for anyone's termination, especially in this difficult economic claimate when even a Google VP like Mayer might have a tough time finding a new gig; but if there were a person on this planet who deserves to be busted down to the mail room tomorrow morning, it is Marissa Mayer. __________________________________ Gregg L. DesElms Napa, California USA gregg at greggdeselms dot com
Gregg DesElms on June 11, 2010 at 6:54 am
[...] You may have been a bit confused a while ago when you opened your Google and thinking, “Wait, I didn’t open Bing” after seeing a very colorful background picture on your browser. Turns out this is what has Google been harping about since last week. The popular web browser has its homepage decorated with images from artists, sculptors, and photographers from different parts of the world. Users can even … Read More » [...]

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