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How to Remove the Google Background Image

Today Google have changed their homepage to show off their new photographic wallpapers (copied from Bing).

Now I’m as much of a Google fan as most web designers are (ie I like them and use all their products) but I don’t like these images.

Google Homepage Background Image

Thankfully Google realised people might not want the backgrounds and included a (slightly complicated) way to remove the background image. Apparently the images are only ‘compulsory’ today but if you are impatient here’s how to remove them now.

  • Click “Add background image” link in the bottom left of the Google homepage
  • Sign in (if you aren’t already… and I guess most people are)
  • Select “Editor’s picks”
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the list and choose your favourite colour
  • Click “Select”
  • Et voila!

It’s funny, I never thought Google would be so inspired by Microsoft (Bing) – I thought it was MS who were meant to be playing catch up!

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8 Comments »

  1. Hi Ben,

    First time I have come across your blog…I too was surprised to see Google follow Bing/MS in such an obvious way! I never saw this feature while it was live. I am online everyday so I was surprised when I learned about it and disappointed that I didn’t see it!

    • Hi Stephen, welcome to the site! :)
      yeah – it was a big surprise to me as well. I’d seen people talk about it before but forcing it on people seems a bit much. I’m glad it was only for one day, but I’m surprised Google spent any time on it at all really. It’s not improving their site speed (it’s doing the opposite) and it doesn’t make the search results more accurate. I’d have thought they’d want to spend their time on more productive things.

      On the other hand it did get people talking about them even more than normal :)

  2. I actually like it – and I like what Bing did. But that is subjective. I agree, loading that image can slow it down – but it is efficient if they are loading the image – after the guts.

    I see it this way: Yes, Google has great search and we go there for search, but if you can catch a visitor that is easily distracted – and I think most of us are – then like Bing, if that image changes and has interesting things associated with it, a casual surfer may ‘stop by’ more frequently – even if they did not have a search query – and consequently, may call up a search, thus increasing the search volume for Google.

    • I was sure there would be people who would like it and I guess I can see your point.

      To be totally honest I don’t use the Google homepage a huge amount. I tend to search through the search box in Firefox or the address bar in Chrome, so I rarely see the homepage at all.

      I do find it interesting seeing the different approaches Google takes, and the way they use their products. I’m sure they do lots of research into things before deciding to make such big changes so maybe there’s something I can learn from this for my own websites.

      • I was going to add that I also use Chrome and search from the address bar as well, but I get long-winded sometimes.

        From my sites – I do notice that visitors like it to be appealing – pictures help immensely.

        You are right about the research that Google does – I can’t imagine if I did a/b testing more on my sites.

        Well Ben, Thanks. Been subscribed to your site (RSS) for a while now – can’t remember when.

  3. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for that tip, when I first saw it appear the other day I was somewhat tempted, but then thought that there may be some sort of convoluted route that was almost impossible to find in order to remove it if I didn’t like it.

    So I resisted the temptation and stayed with white. Now that I know how to remove it, I might play around with it a little!

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