Get Back Google Background Image on Chrome and Firefox

Customized Google background images on the homepage was one of the best things about Google search, but not anymore. With effect from November 16 2012, Google has removed the feature and this is what they have to say.

Background images on the Google homepage gave users the ability to select images to appear in place of the classic, minimalist experience. As we focus our efforts to build a more streamlined Google Search page for everyone, we will be unable to offer this customization.

For what I can understand, the step was taken to streamline the searches but I just don’t understand how!

google background image

If I am not wrong, most of us have the habit of using Google as our default browser’s homepage and decorate it with a custom background image. If the chatter on the forums is anything to go by, a huge number of users are going to miss the Google custom background feature big time. But today I will show you a simple workaround to get the background image back on almost all the modern day browsers (except Internet Explorer of course). Yes, there’s always a workaround.

Background Image on Google in Chrome

To get back the background image on Chrome, download and install Google Background Image extension from Chrome Web Store. Now when you open your Google homepage you will again see the link, change background image at the bottom left corner of the screen. However, when you click on it this time the Chrome background image extension will open up.

chrome background image

You can now select images from Flickr or give the direct URL of the image on the web to use. If you want to use a personal photo as a background, you can use the photos that you have uploaded on Picasa and are available publically. However I would suggest you to use a site like Imgur to host the image and then use the direct link in the extension.

Background Image on Google in Firefox

For the time being there is no direct add-on you can install on Firefox to get back the background image. We will be using a Greasemonkey script to enable the feature in Firefox. If you don’t have Greasemonkey installed on your browser, download and install it from the Firefox Add-ons Centre. Having done that, install Google Background userscript and open Google homepage in a new tab.

install script

You will now see the Change background link on Google homepage in Firefox. Click on it and provide the URL of the image you would like to use.

Safari and Opera

You can use the script we have used on Firefox for Opera and Safari as well, however you will have to make arrangements for the browser to support user-scripts. Safari users can use the Greasemonkey kit to install and use custom JavaScript. You can refer to this article on Simple Help if you need help in installing Greasemonkey kit on Safari. Opera users can refer to this one to enable the script.

Conclusion

So that was how we can re-enable the Google Background Image in most of the modern day browsers and continue to use Google as the default homepage.

What do you think about Google’s move to Google Background completely? Why do you think it took this decision?

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