Money Matters - Simplified

Google's homepage experiment ends amid public backlash

The internet search giant had announced through its blog post early this month that it was soon going to introduce a new feature that would bring “a whole new level of personalization to Google” by letting users add a “favorite photo or image to the background of the Google homepage.”

When Google mimicked the image background resemblance of Bing search engine Thursday, did it anticipate its 'art of the homepage' experiment to fail so miserably? Surely it didn't.

Collaborating with the artists, sculptors and photographers, the internet search giant “created a gallery of background images,” to enable users to personalize their Google home page.

Hoping to please users with the unusual imagery in the background instead of standard white look, the internet search giant unveiled the new homepage design Thursday.

Google had definitely expected the experiment to last 24 hours but to its utter surprise it had to switch back to the old design within a few hours only.

Homepage image backlash
The reason cited for pulling the plugs on its ambitious project was the growing users' backlash.

Though Google unveiled the new design, it did not give users the option to revert to the old homepage. This angered majority of the users worldwide.

Venting his anger, a user named OGrdnr commented on Google support forum, “This is rather ridiculous. I thoroughly enjoyed the clean, minimalistic design of the Google homepage. It's a shame that they've forced a change on users that genuinely don't want to migrate away from the aforementioned simplicity.

Seconding the sentiment, another user named Coswyn added, “First the delayed top-bar, now this. If I wanted this kind of worthless delay and distraction I would go to Bing - and Yahoo is a whole different level of absurdity. If Google is abandon its simplified roots then I will seriously be considering abandoning their services. This is strike two for them in my book.”

The jarring experience reported by the users was only a part of the reason for halting the experiment. The other issue that came Google's way was the bug.

Addressing users' concerns Paul, a Google employee, wrote on company's support forum Thursday, “Please be assured these images will only be displayed today, and the homepage will return to its regular white background tomorrow.”

Bug issue
The jarring experience reported by the users was only a part of the reason for halting the experiment. The other issue that came Google's way was the bug.

As a result, the experiment which kicked off with a bang ended with a whimper.

Explaining the problem, Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience, wrote on Google blog that they had planned to run an explanation alongside the new homepage informing users about the new experiment.

“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.”

About Google's homepage experiment
The internet search giant had announced through its blog post early this month that it was soon going to introduce a new feature that would bring “a whole new level of personalization to Google” by letting users add a “favorite photo or image to the background of the Google homepage.”

Later Google added in its gallery the works of renowned personalities like Dale Chihuly, Jeff Koons, Tom Otterness, Polly Apfelbaum, Kengo Kuma, Kwon, Ki-soo, and Tord Boontje.

The new feature would also have given the users the option to upload pictures from their computer or their Picasa Web Album.