Google’s buggy and annoying custom backgrounds

Google’s introduced custom background images for its plain search page.

You know what? I find it annoying. It’s just slowing down the page, and making it less readable.


And the clincher is… you can’t turn it off! Initially there’s a very well-concealed link at the bottom left to do it, but once you take a look at the options and try it out, that becomes a “Change background image” option, and there’s no way to remove it completely.

I’ve also seen it momentarily change to a “Remove background” link, but it doesn’t work — instead it changes back to a default picture.

Seriously, if I wanted this kind of crap, I’d use Bing.

Under Editor’s Picks, there is an option for a white background (as well as other colours), but choosing white is not very readable, because the writing has also been changed to white, with a grey shadow. For now, I’ve switched it to the blue one, which isn’t excessively bad, but I’d like it gone completely.

Mashable has found there are a couple of not-very-convenient ways to turn it off:

Go to

or use HTTPS, eg

Attn: Google, by all means offer this as an option, but for heaven’s sake provide an easy way to turn it off.

Update: Google blog post about this (via Richard Thornton.)

Update 8am Friday: They’ve fixed the bug, so the Remove Background Image link now works. As this update notes: 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, so we decided to stop today’s series early.

Call me crazy, but maybe they should have tested it properly before turning it on. (Thanks again Richard)

7 thoughts on “Google’s buggy and annoying custom backgrounds

  1. Paul Dwerryhouse

    Well, you probably wouldn’t use Bing anyway, because its results are next to useless 🙂

    I gave up on using the Google homepage years ago; I use so many different search agents so regularly, that I bundled them up in webforms on a single page, stored on my laptop, and set my browser’s homepage to it. Something like this:

    Far more convenient than Firefox’s search box.

  2. GoogleCrap


    What utter crap they released again.
    No option to turn it off the normal way!

    GOOGLE…If you’re reading this. Please make sure the programmer responsible for the code behind it is cleaning the toilets at google main office. Lest you risk any more emberrasment.

    GEEEZ. I feel sorry for even trying it out. Last time I try out any new things. Google Buzz already on my blocklist…backgrounds next one!

  3. anonymous

    This is gonna hurt google, more people’s brains are going to initiate thinking about switching to another search engine, what many have not thought would ever be necessary again.

  4. Why?

    The following post is fiction and used poetic license:

    Don’t just fire whoever thought this was cool, hit them in the face with a fucking shovel until they quit squirming.

  5. Anonymous

    yeah i just removed the background on my google homepage so you are complaining for no reason

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