Google kills background images on home page

A temporary experiment meant to highlight Google's new background-personalization feature on was pulled earlier than expected amid complaints.
Background images were the temporary default look for before being pulled earlier than expected. Screenshot by Tom Krazit/CNET

Fourteen hours into a 24-hour experiment with background imagery, Google's home page is once again stark white.

Design guru Marissa Mayer confirmed that Google was ending the experiment early due to what she called a "bug," which erased a link underneath the search bar on that explained why Google's famously spartan home page had taken on a colorful look. Apparently many searchers on Thursday morning missed the company's blog post Wednesday night, and were confused and annoyed at the change, turning "remove google background" into the seventh-most-popular search on Google Thursday.

Last week Google announced that it would begin providing its users with the option of setting their own background image behind the home page, but last night it forced an image to appear for all users signed into a Google account to highlight the feature. That didn't sit well with many grown used to Google's clean white design, especially when Google's explanation of why it was forcing this look vanished from the home page.

It also gave fans of Microsoft's Bing search engine a chance to crow, given that one of Bing's most noticeable features is a striking background image behind that contains links to searches about the image.

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