Google background fail & Microsoft rejoices? Who is really failing?

Its been widely reported Google’s experiment of having a background picture for the front page of its search engine.  I think its safe to say that the experiment was not well received and for most users I have spoken with it failed on two fronts, firstly because the simplistic “actually do the job” front page is exactly what users want and secondly because some people were reminded of Bing when opening their search engine of choice, Google.  After lasting only 14 hours of the planned 24 period and It being reported that “Remove google background” was the 5th biggest trending topic for that period on Google.  Google had this to say:

Today, we ran a special “doodle” that showcased this functionality by featuring a series of images as the background for our homepage. We had planned to run an explanation of the showcase alongside it—in the form of a link on our homepage. 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. We appreciate your feedback and patience as we experiment and iterate.

Which you can read in its entirety here.

What is most interesting in this whole episode though is the apparent delight that Microsoft seems to have taken in Google’s latest experiment, with Microsoft Twitter accounts [1] reported as tweeting such things as:

How intriguing to see friends at Google borrowing the Bing homepage #photography idea.


Imitation (however pale) is the sincerest form of flattery: a certain search engine put up the same pic (tulip fields) used on Bing long ago

Looking at claimed stats for search engine use, Google has over 65% whilst Bing, still coming behind Yahoo is around 11.5.  There’s nothing to rejoice here and what people need to remember when Microsoft touts a rapid rise in success in Bing, is that Bing is not a new product.  Its merely a rebranded MSlive, so this is not a case of Microsoft merely releasing a new product onto the market and meeting with instant success since it already had a user-base under its old handle which would have migrated when they re-branded.

So Microsoft wants to imply that Google would want to imitate them?  Exactly what do they want to imitate Microsoft? Your usage figures?  I don’t think so and Microsoft should consider that maybe their own small offering in the area of search could do with removing their background image since Google users don’t like it.  Microsoft won’t of course notice this and even mainstream sites are saying:

Google mimicked Bing’s look and feel deliberately so that its search-hungry masses would shout “Ugly!” and start plucking out their own eyes at the sight of sand dunes and stripes where once there was simple white space………this Bing-like monstrosity.

You can read the full article here (PCWorld), which also details other comments which have been made such as:

Google now as ghastly as Bing!


Bring back lovely Google blankness, destroy the Bing thing!


It looks as disgusting as Bing!

So whilst Microsoft rejoices it seems blissfully unaware of what people think of its product?  This to me is of little surprise, I think Microsoft always likes to dress its products up, to hide the shortcomings? Remember, it was Bill Gates who said:

If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.

Its seems Microsoft of 2010 will grasp any opportunity to gain a perceived “little victory” and who can blame them?  The Kin is failing to grasp the imagination of its target audience, the smart phone market seems awash (and unbreakable) with anything other than a Microsoft platform and all the while even the off the shelf press are now talking about alternatives to Microsoft products, something which was rather rare only a couple of years ago.

Microsoft, instead of taking delight in what you perceive is Google’s imitation, why not consider the reason that it failed?  Maybe you should consider a hugely unpopular feature which you use is not such a good idea after all.

Of course Microsoft won’t.  It will tell you what you want.  Microsoft knows best.

“I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea” – Because Microsoft tells you it was.

From where I am standing the only failure here is that it now appears that which Bing likes to define itself with (background images) appears hideously unpopular.


[1] How many Twitter accounts does Microsoft have? There’s certainly quite a few, ready to slither into action to pimp or defend a Microsoft product.  Maybe if they were removed Twitter wouldnt suffer so many #fail whales? 😉

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.


4 thoughts on “Google background fail & Microsoft rejoices? Who is really failing?

Add yours

  1. Background Image is the same to web sites as wallpaper is to an Operating System. So if I use the wallpaper word here instead, its because its really interchangeable. By FUD, MS seems to be saying that they alone are masters and inventors of background images (wallpapers from now on) and that google is merely imitating them. The point is, is just wallpaper folks!

    Does Microsoft have a patent on wallpaper now? But MS does use changing wallpaper a lot and is somewhat of master of it. Just look at its windows operating systems, sometimes the biggest feature of change, is the wallpaper used, and the lockin employed too. Same with MSN to Windows Live to Kuma to Bing, biggest change was wallpaper and advertising blitz. Well, except the name changes on this search failed product to fool people thinking that they are getting something completely new, built “from the ground up” as MS likes to say about all their products.

    No, Google is not failing no matter how much money Ballmer throws away again on Bing/Silverlight.
    Let put the failure tag where it really belongs, and let Mr. Ballmer claim that one. Why? Because under his lack of leadership, HP bought Palm and will use Palm’s WebOS (linux based) on tablets, smart devices, phones, and maybe netbooks. Why? Because now Dell goes the same way:

    It not only that, but Dell is putting Google Android on one of its tablets already. This is simply because of the stupidity of those in charge of MS in not abandoning VISTA like OS, and not going back to XP and reinventing that without all the DRM. The result was a slightly bug fixed, new wallpaper version of Vista called Windows Seven, still ungainly, still needed too many resources, and still unable to run on most low end computers. XP Home had to be kept to be put on netbooks and low low end computers, as Seven was just too much to bare. The death of XP, will in many ways be the death (rather the snowball rolling decline) of MS to come. Why? Because MS has nothing to replace XP. Seven will not unless on faster Intel hardware. Seven or XP will not run on ARM. Which leaves CE and it maze of new renames, so lets just call them all CE, which they really are built on. CE will run on both ARM and Intel based hardware.

    CE is a failure now. CE is a product that MS would like to make money on, as they sell software. Too bad that linux and systems based on Linux, like Anroid/Chrome OS are mostly free. MS has to compete here with free, where is the profit on that? And yet, Mr. Ballmer cannot see the writing on wall, and pours more money into this lost cause with no hope of return. Windows Phone 7, the future vaporware based on CE, is likely a bust, since the sacking of Robbie Bach and Allard. It will be late to the party, it will be feature limited, with few apps for it, and probably loaded with bugs.

    Failure? The failure does not lay with Google, but with Mr. Ballmer who is at the helm of MS.
    Speculation grows that Microsoft’s Ballmer will exit stage left
    Is Steve Ballmer about to exit Microsoft?
    June 20, 2010

  2. No, Google is not failing, but Bing and Yahoo are:
    Google raises search lead, others decline: data

    “Google Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!goog/quotes/nls/goog (GOOG 486.93, +0.68, +0.14%) increased its share of the U.S. Internet search market to 72.2% in May from 71.4% in the prior month, while rivals Yahoo Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!yhoo/quotes/nls/yhoo (YHOO 15.08, -0.01, -0.07%) and Microsoft Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!msft/quotes/nls/msft (MSFT 25.86, +0.09, +0.35%) each saw declines, according to data published Monday.”

    And thats still after MS pulled out all the unethical stops to try to beat Google massive search lead:
    Report raises questions about Yahoo, Microsoft search

    ” Such shortcuts can be deployed by automatically serving up search results when a user clicks on a piece of content such as a photo, for example, without any intention on the user’s part to search for related information.

    After backing out such shortcuts, Schachter told clients in a research note that Yahoo and Microsoft likely saw their combined search share decline in May, to 27.4% — while Google likely increased its market share to 66.4%. ”
    It should be noted here that MS actually perfers to use figures based only on search in the US, not the whole world, where it does less than 3%.

    Will Steve Ballmer be shown the door for the mess he made of MS? I have my doubts, as accordingly to one comment on Mini MSFT, Steve, Bill G, and some of the other MS founder types, own 17% of the voting stock. Plus, Steve Ballmer himself is on the board, as is Bill Gates, his friend who appointed Steve CEO. Bill is actually Chairman of the board for MS. It would take a very strong push for shareholders to replace Steve.

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