Google changes URL icon: Cue limited outrage

google favicon.jpg

Google is undoubtedly the biggest most influential search engine in the world. Cornering the majority of the market, anything it does is generally acclaimed with bells whistles and journalists falling all over themselves in their eagerness to report on it (hello, Chrome!), but there has been relatively little buzz about their recent change of favicon. And why is that? Oh yes, it’s only a favicon. For those who want that explained a favicon is the 16×16 pixel square image that you see in the URL toolbar next to the web address ( I learnt this when trying to design one for my website and discovering that it’s harder to create a .ico file than previously thought)

But hey, Google have a lot of money to throw at graphic designer so it’s surprising that the above symbol is the best they could come up with. Well let’s be fair, they did roll out a competition for someone to design it, and the chosen icon is 80% the same as the winning design of André Resende. In their own words ‘We changed the colour layout slightly and moved the ‘g’ off centre, but his submission formed the basis for our new design.’

It seems Google are getting quite into redesigning as this is their second change within six months as in June 2008 they changed the favicon as well- and created five separate ones to optimize the different platforms you’d use it on, such as iPhone, Archos etc.

In the world of the web it’s good to constantly reinvent yourself but does an engine like Google really worry about losing out on its dedicated fan base? I guess for them it’s all about making people aware they have their finger on the ‘cool’ pulse but sometimes it’s better to stick with a recognized logo than opt for something else, and you also have to wonder what the point is. Is this incarnation due to stay or will we be seeing a myriad of weird and wonderful designs hit the URL bar over the next couple of years? You can see an entertaining selection of where rebranding has gone horribly wrong here, and I’m hoping Google will stay out of the hit list this year.

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[via BBC]

Zara Rabinowicz