Tag Archives: Google

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 http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=all

or use HTTPS, eg https://www.google.com/

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‚Äôs series early.

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

Windows 7 temporary profiles part 2

Windows 7 temporary profile

I haven’t found the root cause of the Windows 7 temporary profiles troubles I’m having, though one suspect is still Google’s updater (as it popped up again last night after installing Google Sketchup).

Sure, a reboot will clear the problem, but what if you have a job running on the machine that you don’t want to stop? Like MediaCenter recording a TV show?

Here’s another way of clearing it: log onto another account (not the one you’re having problems with, but it doesn’t matter if once again you get a temporary profile), and run Regedit as Administrator. Go to HKEY_USERS, and look for the keys matching the affected user(s), eg HOSTNAME_USERNAME. Select the key and choose File / Unload Hive.

That user should then be cleared.

(via an answer in this post).

Still hunting for the root cause, but in my case it really does seem to happen when Google’s Updater is on the plot. Apparently you can use Process Explorer to work out which process has c:\users\USER\ntuser.dat locked, though when I tried that, it didn’t seem to find it. But certainly some Google processes were running at the time.

Google Pac-man!

To celebrate Pacman’s 30th anniversary, Google’s banner today is not only Pac-man-based, it’s a playable game if you wait for a few seconds.

Google Pacman

And yes, if you clear the first two boards, you get the traditional cut-scene.

Google Pacman

Google Pacman

Is that totally awesome or what?

Am I correct in thinking it’s not actually written in Flash, but in some clever HTML-type thingy?

Update: Yes. CNet reports: ccording to Germick, the company worked with Pac-Man’s publisher, Namco Bandai, to make the project as realistic as possible. Yet the Google team, with the inspirational lead of Marcin Wichary, a Google senior user experience designer, built their version of the game from the ground up using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Update 4pm: If you click Insert Coin twice, you get a two-player game (W/A/S/Z controls Ms Pac-Man). And there is one minor bug I’ve noticed — sometimes when chasing ghosts after eating a power pill, you can pass right through them.

Update 9:30pm: Google Pac-Man: The FAQ + Kill Screen Winners — contains more details on how it was written, where to find it when it’s gone from the main Google page, and a picture of the”kill” screen.

Update Monday: It’s gone from Google’s home page now, but is still online here: www.google.com/pacman

Google vs China

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

— Google blog: A new approach to China