Over the years, the colorful Google logo, with various letters appearing in blue, red, yellow, and green, has been a fixture on the home page of the world's most popular search engine. On occasion, Google has modified its logo to reflect key holidays or events and, has even tweaked its home page to incorporate user-generated artwork.
But the latest change, just rolled out internationally, is a whole different look for Google. In fact, it could be a billion different looks. That's because now, each Google user can set a personalized home page, using any photograph or image of his or her choice, or select from Google's public domain image library maintained by Picasa.
To support the new ability to customize its home page, Google's usually colorful logo is white, downplaying the logo so it doesn't conflict with a colorful wallpaper selected by the user. The image can be changed to another stock image, if desired, or replaced with a favorite personal image.
In its zeal to promote customization, which some observers feel is too Bing-like for Google, the search giant today selected a wallpaper for users' home pages. Unprepared, users complained (customization should be opt-in, after all), and the Google home page is now back to its customary white background.
Marketing misstep aside, Google isn't being laissez-faire about its logo, and has sued in the past to protect its mark. The no-color logo to enhance personalization follows the recent addition of stars to personalize search results, and a flattened new logo that de-emphasized its previous curvier, brighter look.
It's also one time when Google is a follower rather than a leader. Microsoft's Bing search engine has always allowed users to personalize their home page. But for those purists, says Google, "we’ve made it easy to switch between your customized search page and classic Google."