Update: The Google background image default has been returned to the classic white background. You can still set a background image if you would like.
Last week, Google announced that it was adding the ability for users to add a background image to their search page. This morning, the Google background image appears to have gone compulsory. This move has left many users asking how to remove the Google background. The answer, however, is not as simple as many think it should be. There are alternatives that still allow you to use Google without the background image, though.
Google background image – The company line
How to remove Google background image
Not all users are happy about this change, and how to remove the Google background image is the biggest question of the day on the Google forums. The Google instructions on this matter are, unfortunately, unclear. Google claims that the “remove background image” link in the bottom left hand corner will return things to normal. However, this “remove Google background image” option does not appear unless you first have a Google account, and second set a custom Google background image. Otherwise, the link in the bottom left-hand corner will say “change background image.” If you do have an account and have a custom Google background image set, then the “remove background image” link will return the background to the default Google background image. In other words, there is no way to completely remove the Google background image – at least for today.
Work around the Google background image
So the Google background image cannot be completely removed. Google users, however, have come up with several workarounds to remove the Google background image. If you have a Google account, you can customize the background to white. This isn’t perfect, but it does get rid of the image. There are also two alternate Google homepages you can use that do not have the Google background image: http://www.google.com/firefox and the Google SSL Beta search page. Either way, the majority of Google searches occur each day not from the Google homepage, but from toolbars and built-in search on other websites – a huge amount of traffic which helps contribute to the $484 stock price. The real question is, though, will the company remove the Google background image after a day? Or will the dedicated programmers that get a day off to design the Google Doodle every once in a while have to go back to work? Or will they just have a larger canvas?