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Google updates Web address iconography

A company that pays close attention to its image updates the tiny icon that represents the corporate brand next to countless Web site addresses.

Update 10:30 p.m. PT: I corrected the description of the old favicon.

Google updated its 'favicon' with a softer, bluer look.
Google updated its 'favicon' with a softer, bluer look.

Overnight, Google got a new face on the Web--one measuring 16x16 pixels.

The search giant updated its favicon, the eensy little 256-pixel logo that appears in browser locations such as bookmarks, URL location bar, and window tabs. The old icon, a capital G in a multicolored box, has been supplanted by a cuddlier-looking blue lower-case g.

It's a minor change, to be sure. But coming from a company obsessed not only with design choices but also the effect those choices have, I can't help but draw attention to it. And given how often most Web users see that icon sprinkled across their browsers, it's probably smart to pay some attention to that aspect of branding.

Note that the new favicon doesn't appear on all Google sites yet. And in some areas, there are other favicons: Google Docs, for example, shows different icons for online spreadsheets, word-processing files, and presentations. Conveniently, those favicons are color-coded with the same green, blue, and red colors used by Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.