It seems like Google is really feeling enough pressure from competing search engines to make it re-think its home page layout. A new feature just announced from Google will let users customize their Google homepage backgrounds, an update that will make the search engine appear a lot like Microsoft’s Bing. Now don’t get us wrong, Google is still content to maintain its trademark rabbit-in-a-snowstorm as the default background. But should users be in the mood for something a little more, shall we say, Bingy, the company is allowing people to upload their own photo as the Google homepage.
The firm is publicising the new feature by covering its normally white background with famous images by renowned photographers for the next 24 hours. The idea is a clear nod to Microsoft’s Bing search engine which has a regularly updated background photo that is designed to reflect world events. Bing is threatening to make inroads into Google’s lucrative search market and has increased its share every month since it was first launched last year.
An official Google blog post said: ‘Today, we’re introducing a new feature that brings a whole new level of personalisation to Google by letting you add a favorite photo or image to the background of the Google homepage. You can choose a photo from your computer, your own Picasa Web Album or a public gallery hosted by Picasa which includes a selection of beautiful photos.’
The search engine is collaborating with well-known artists and photographers including Dale Chihuly, Jeff Koons, Tom Otterness, and Polly Apfelbaum as well a selection of nature images from National Geographic. The new feature comes the day after Google launched its latest search indexing system, Caffeine. Caffeine is designed to make web searches fresher with content that is updated more regularly than under the current system.
Here’s a link to Google’s Blog and the big announcement from VP Search Products & User Experience Marissa Mayer.