Google vs. Bing: Copycat Picture on Prominent Page?

ABC's Bradley Blackburn blogs from New York:

Google's homepage has long featured a colorful logo on a plain white background, but now the world's biggest search engine is having a makeover.

Google.com now shows a white logo over a vibrant photo that changes regularly.

But for folks at Google's chief rival in search, Microsoft's Bing, the big picture looks a little familiar.

Since Bing launched in June 2009, one signature feature has been a new backdrop image posted every day behind its search box.

The sincerest form of flattery, right?

Folks at Microsoft have noticed the apparent copycat move.

On Microsoft Europe's official twitter feed, someone posted with a wink, "We've lost a background image, if found please return to bing.com ;)"

In announcing the move last week, Google took pains to emphasize that their photo can be changed by users -- unlike Bing's curated shots.

"We're introducing a new feature that brings a whole new level of personalization to Google by letting you add a favorite photo or image to the background of the Google homepage," wrote VP Marissa Mayer on Google's company blog.

Still, the similarities are striking. Even if it's just aesthetics, Microsoft must be pleased that, for a change, Google might be chasing them in search.

UPDATE: After an outcry from Google users, the search engine returned to the white page as its default background this afternoon, Marissa Mayer confirmed on her twitter page, though users can still opt-in to a background image. Searches for "remove google background" were one of the most popular queries on Google today, according to site's trends page.

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