A funny thing happened this week. Google tried to become Bing by displaying full color pictures on its Home page, and was undone by a bug. The irony here is just too obvious to ignore. Bing influences Google to change its plain white page, and it comes apart because of a bug. You have to admit, it made Google look pretty foolish. Meanwhile, they must have been having a hearty laugh in the halls at Microsoft over this.
One of things people have really liked about Bing is the changing high resolution picture it displays on the Bing Home page. They are quite nice, even if they are just eye candy with no real purpose. One of the signature design elements that has always defined Google is that they have presented a box on a plain white page. It's who they are, but it's clear Bing's modest success has them thinking, maybe overthinking and they believed they had to match Bing for whatever reason. So we have the picture experiment.
Marissa Mayer wrote in the Official Google Blog on June 2 that they were adding photos from well known artists as a way to enhance the user experience (and to blatantly copy Microsoft). The idea, however, had a bit of a twist. You could use one of your own photos, or you could choose one from the Google Picassa gallery of photos. Last week, however, she wrote that they decided to go with a rotating photo array for 24 hours as a way to promote the new feature. Rotating high quality photos--mmm, where have I seen that before.
Google ended up pulling out of the one day of experiment, apparently because an explanation that was supposed to appear didn't due to a bug. Mayer wrote on Twitter:
"@COMPUTERWOCHE There was supposed to be a link explaining what was going on (only one day, etc.), due to a bug it wasn't showing"
What's the Point Anyway?
I'm not even clear why Google would do this. First of all, how many people actually go to the Google Home page to conduct a search? I know I rarely do. For the most part, I enter my search in the address bar in Chrome or I enter it in the Google search box in Firefox, completely bypassing the Home Page, which is really an extra an unnecessary step. Secondly, why would Google want to copy Microsoft in this fashion and open themselves up to ridicule. Finally, why would they put out this feature, one that's clearly extraneous, before it was ready?
None of it makes much sense, but last week, Google failed at its attempt to become a Bing wannabe, ended up looking very silly, and it's just baffling on so many levels.