Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Google Businesses The Internet Graphics Software

New Google Favicon Deja Vu All Over Again? 227

theodp writes "Last June, Google rolled out a new favicon, the small branding icon that graces your URL bar when you visit Google. Which, as it turned out, bore a striking similarity to Garth Brooks' Circle-G logo. Well, Google went back to the drawing board and has come back with a new favicon, which it says was inspired by — not copied from, mind you — its users' submitted ideas. Some are also seeing inspiration elsewhere for the new favicon, which consists of white 'g' on a background of four color swatches. Take the AVG antivirus icon, for instance. Or everybody's favorite memory toy, Simon. Or — in perhaps the unkindest cut of all — the four-color Microsoft Windows logo, shown here with a superimposed white '7'. Anything else come to mind?" What comes to mind for me is just how obsessed many people are with the Google favicon.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Google Favicon Deja Vu All Over Again?

Comments Filter:
  • Really, timothy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln ( 21727 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @08:55PM (#26411753)

    What comes to mind for me is just how obsessed many people are with the Google favicon.

    You mean like the Slashdot editors who think it's important enough to put on the front page?

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2009 @08:56PM (#26411765)

    The Garth Brooks one is particularly ridiculous---the only similarity appears to be that both have, at various times, used a lowercase 'g' in an entirely unremarkable font as a logo. Yes, congratulations, two instances of a lowercase 'g' can look similar!

    The rest aren't much more convincing. Google uses some simple arrangements of primary colors, and, amazingly enough, so do some other companies, even some other tech companies. But they don't even look particularly similar (especially the Windows one).

    • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:06PM (#26411869) Homepage

      Google uses some simple arrangements of primary colors, and, amazingly enough, so do some other companies, even some other tech companies. But they don't even look particularly similar (especially the Windows one).

      Not to you, slashdotter, who sees these logos all the time. To the casually stroller-by, who sees tech logos once per fortnight, they will easily be confused. What is red, green, and blue and deals with computers? If today it is AVG / Google / MS and tomorrow it is something else then there _will_ be confusion and brand dilution.

    • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:12PM (#26411927)

      Indeed. When you get down to minimalist, iconic designs, at favicon resolution, there is only so much parameter space. One of those links claims:

      AVG favicon + 90 degree turn + Old favicon + Some smudging -> New favicon

      Give me a break! Newsflash: any icon can be conceptually transformed into any other icon in a finite number of image-manipulation steps. Like: "Slashdot favicon + Convert to B&W + Duplicate the slash 3 times + flip two of the slashes -> Wikipedia's favicon" ... OMG! Wikipedia is stealing ideas from Slashdot!

      The summary is so patently ridiculous that I really have to wonder if it was submitted as a joke or is an attempt to troll Slashdot. Google's new favicon has a "g" and 4 primary colors. It bears some resemblance to other 4-primary-color emblems (of which there are thousands). Get over it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I love it how we get into rants about how something doesn't matter, and how everyone should get over it... then... Oh, I just ranted about it. That means... I ... care ... nooo!
      • The summary is so patently ridiculous that I really have to wonder if it was submitted as a joke or is an attempt to troll Slashdot.

        You just had to say "patently" in the context of this thread didn't you?

        PS - to you smartasses, yes I know there's a difference between trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      A lowercase 'g' in two entirely different, unremarkable fonts.

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2009 @10:13PM (#26412417) Homepage

      Yes, I agree that this whole thing seems a little nit-picky. It's pretty hard to design a good logo. Ask a designer, and many will say that they find it to be one of the hardest things to design, since they should usually be extremely simple designs, immediately identifiable, and wrap up a lot of meaning into a single impression.

      It's even harder to create an logo that doesn't resemble any other logo. You can't really do it. Art in general takes from prior works, even if only stylistically, and nothing is entirely original. People are usually inspired by something, or draw an idea from someone else's work. Besides that, like I said, logos should usually be pretty simple, and if you make a million designs, all of them extremely simple, then every design will resemble at least a couple of the others.

      Knowing all that, consider the form of the favicon. They're 16px by 16px, and IIRC some browsers only support 8-bit graphics (256 colors, no alpha channel). That's going to narrow your options a bit.

      Also, using multiple primary colors are popular in logos. They stand out, and can be used to convey a childish simplicity (fun) or an elemental nature of the product. Using a single letter or only a couple letters is popular in logos-- I don't think I need to explain why. When you put this all together, it would be amazing if lots of favicons didn't resemble each other in various ways.

      • It's even harder to create an logo that doesn't resemble any other logo. You can't really do it.

        Sometimes they don't even try. Go look up the work of Saul Bass: he loved blue, especially blue circles: AT&T "Deathstar", Minolta, and Continental Airlines being three examples of logos that were obviously part of the same thought.

      • by ozamosi ( 615254 )

        16px * 16px * 256 colors = 65536 favicons. A lot of them looks like shit.

        Typing "number of companies united states" into my firefox awesomebar takes me to [], which claims it has "over 13 million company profiles for businesses in the United States." I think there may be an additional company or two in Europe, Asia and Oceania, and there might be a few non-commercial websites.

        Not all of those has a web page, and not all of those who do has a favicon, but...

        • Pretty much every browser supports using 32-bit-color PNGs for favicons, so your number of unique ones is quite low. Let's see... oh, my calculator overflowed just trying to calculate all possible unique favicons in the actual constraints.

    • It's not like they even put a broken circle around it or anything (I guess the Garth Brooks one looks like a record player?).

      People need to give it a rest. There is very little creative you can do for a company logo in 16x16 pixels.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sootman ( 158191 )

      I don't care who Google stole the icon from. I'm concerned with how much carbon Google is using transmitting that favico! [] (Historical context for future viewers, or for humor-impaired mods from the present: there is currently one story between that story and this one on the slashdot main page.)

  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @08:57PM (#26411777) Homepage

    ...because lynx does not support favicons, you insensitive clod!

    • by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:53PM (#26412283)

      ...because lynx does not support favicons, you insensitive clod!


      Real hackers just stick the UTP on their tongue and decipher the signals with their taste buds. SIDE NOTE: I once discovered the hard way that a telephone ring signal is 90vac.

      On a related note, I have been storing all of my favorites on the bookmark bar (or whatever it is called). As more sites are using the "favicon", it has been helpful to just edit the bookmark and remove the title altogether (leaving just the icon). You can fit a lot of favorites in the toolbar in this manner.

      • As more sites are using the "favicon", it has been helpful to just edit the bookmark and remove the title altogether (leaving just the icon).

        That's rad, thanks for the tip. I never thought of doing it that way.

        Makes me wonder if browsers will use favicons in a more prominent way in the future. A SVG favicon could scale up into all sorts of UI elements.

      • Sometimes I can't recall what the site was about even after I read the bookmark. How am I supposed to remember all those favicons? But, of course, if you've only meant fitting more bookmarks in the same place -- valid point.

  • Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

    by zwekiel ( 1445761 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:08PM (#26411877)
    This is such important news. Man, the people at the New York Time s are going to be kicking themselves if their morning paper has already been sent out to the printer.
  • by Spazntwich ( 208070 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:08PM (#26411883)

    What comes to mind for me is just how obsessed many people are with the Google favicon.

    Maybe editors are so hard up for pageviews that they'll post whatever inconsequential slop comes to mind, and internet users are just so hard up for interesting news that they'll comment on whatever garbage the editors feed them.

    If the tech sites puked out story after story about motherfucking lolcats apparently Timothy would take the comments to indicate mass obsession with them, which, shit... bad example.

    But seriously, who is actually obsessed with Google's favicon and who is just bored?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PenGun ( 794213 )

      No no ... really I came here hoping there would be something about this.

  • is that all the idiotic designers think GUIs are a playground. From 1988 to 1995 Icons changed only marginally with time, but since the web-culture has spoiled the idea of consistent, clean UIs, i prefer to turn on the icon name whereever possible.

    • by drolli ( 522659 )

      a small additional note:

      it is especially annoying that nowadays there are a lot of "circular icons, where some kind of arrow or direction indicator hides a letter or a circular sign which carries a letter". These take a lot of space, and force you to remember the color which is which if you wan to click fast.

  • by marchingwest ( 1450259 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:09PM (#26411905)
    Almost a direct copy of an Austin-based printing company's logo: []
  • Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by michaelmalak ( 91262 ) <> on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:11PM (#26411919) Homepage
    How many different ways can one make a trashcan icon?
  • What comes to mind for me is just how obsessed many people are with the Google favicon.

    I'm always amazed at the sheer number of people that are obssessed, period. It seems to be a mark of distinction nowadays if you're just completely gaga about some particular product or brand (Apple owners come to mind, for some reason.) Well, unreason seems to be a defining characteristic of modern civilization, so I guess this should come as no surprise. Too bad psychiatrists are so expensive: there are a lot of folks that could use a little therapy.

  • by Ron Bennett ( 14590 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:16PM (#26411973) Homepage

    Looks like a blotch of random colors. I had no idea there was a lowercase "g" in it until I read the article here.

    IMHO, the old favicon was much better - knew right away what it was. A bunch of random colors brings to mind websites about photoshopping, psychology (think blotch tests), or even a pet supply site, since it looks kinda like a paw print.


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by shermo ( 1284310 )

      Even after reading the article it took me a long time to see the 'g' in there.

    • Ok, then I'm not the only one. I guess I only noticed it in safari. But, I see in firefox the G is more apparent due to the gray tab surrounding it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Looks like a red-beaked parrot to me.

      You're right, it is an inkblot test. And apparently I have some repressed issues with parrots.

    • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:56PM (#26412301)

      Agreed. For the first few days I kept noticing the new favicon for google and wondering in my head "Why is google putting up a jumble of random shapes for their favicon?" I had assumed it was like the anniversary of some grand puzzle maker or something. Only yesterday did it suddenly hit me "OH that's a g!"

      Terrible logo. In the middle it's at least legible.

      • Yeah, thats pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking. Even after reading in this thread that there is a 'g' in there, I couldn't see it at all.
        Firefox's addressbar background color is white :-/

        The favicon wouldn't be all that bad if they would just put a dark colored border around the edges.

      • I only noticed the new favicon yesterday. I only noticed the previous one a month ago! I should file that as a cache problem in the browser :)

        The new logo is just plain yuk. Took me a while to register what it was, too. I was reaching or my phishing filters, actually.

    • by El_Isma ( 979791 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @10:27PM (#26412525) Homepage

      The original (the old old) logo was way better. And the favicon they did is worse than the one they got the inspiration from.

      I don't get it, why do they keep changing it? I thought forming a brand meant keeping the same recognizable logo as long as you could, not arbitrarly changing it every 6 months!

      • by Em Ellel ( 523581 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @11:49PM (#26413081)

        The original (the old old) logo was way better.

        Amen to that. I thought I was the only one that thought the original blue G on white background was great. It was simple, clean and unmistakable. Now it is getting worse and worse with each iteration.


        • Same here. I thought that google changed their favicon for some temporary reason, and that my browser cached it.

          Big G was ok. Small g was not necessary. And the random colored dots is just ugly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MarkRose ( 820682 )
      Hey, I'm sure some Google Vice-President is proud of the fact his kid puked up a bunch of crayons that vaguely resemble a "g".
  • by PK_ERTW ( 538588 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @09:57PM (#26412311)
    So, before this article I knew the google had changed there "little-icon-thingy".

    Yes, as far as I knew that is what it is called.

    What I have learned so far from this article is:

    • Little-icon-thingy is not the correct name
    • Favicon is the right name. I like mine more.
    • Many companies use an assortment of primary colours.
    • Google's makes a lower case 'g'. Cool, had not noticed that yet.

    What falls in the what else is new category:

    • Some people don't think a story belongs on the front page


  • I noticed this the other day when I was using ... I thought it was just the Japanese one. My first thought was 'Oh wow, that's ugly.' Now I see it's going to be used for, too... Ugh.

    The user-submitted ones in the blog look way, way better, including the one they took the concept from. What were they thinking?

  • I can't stand it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yakumo.unr ( 833476 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @10:28PM (#26412531) Homepage

    I can't stand it, the g that is entirely reprasentative of the company doesn't stand out anywhere near clearly enough, the entire thing is just a blob and it makes tracking Google tabs in firefox a nightmare.

    The user submitted favicons FTFA by by Hadi Onur Demirsoy, Lucian E. Marin and Yusuf Sevgen are all considerably better.

    • On a decent number of systems I've been using a UserScript [] (aka greasemonkey script) that gives me the original white/blue G, but with this new even more hideous favicon I now compulsively install the script on every computer I touch: the new one is such an offensive eye-sore in the tab-bar.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      You're not the only one to prefer the other user-submitted favicons to the one Google ended up with.

  • That it's 2009 already and Google are having trouble nailing down a favicon is pretty silly to me. This is something you see in companies that are too immature to understand that Engineer != Designer != Writer != Marketer != Salesman and so on.

    Naturally I'm bitter because I'm a graphics person, and I've seen so many engineers try to do "design wheelies" with the drawing tools in Excel and get hopelessly stuck on the role of decoration in design during lunchroom conversations...but come on. Your opinion mat
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gustar ( 125316 )

      Right on! You tell them! Clearly the lack of keen insights such as yours into the nature of critical elements such as a favicon is what is holding Google back from becoming a hugely successful juggernaut of a company...

      Oh wait, they are a hugely successful juggernaut of a company... so much for your keen insight. Maybe you should stick to lecturing the indecisive hippies in your class.

      • Re:Typical Engineers (Score:4, Informative)

        by TheModelEskimo ( 968202 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @11:30PM (#26412965)
        >Clearly the lack of keen insights such as yours

        s/insights/experience ...but you're right, they are clearly beyond saving in this area. :-)

        >hugely successful juggernaut of a company

        Uhh, yeah. You mean a very rich, successful company. And a company that is going to have one jacked up corporate culture in 15-20 years. We're still waiting to see how that part's going to develop. These companies get so big so fast, full of so much hot air, that we end up paying a creativity tax years down the road as they raise service fees to pay for all the middle managers who got in while the getting was good.

        Sure, right now they're a big successful company with a lot of engineering divas and XKCD readers who think that they can literally do anything they want in life, and every door is open to them.

        From my experience, immature corporate policy just feeds this crap. Individual personalities will differ; I'm sure there are some fantastic people there. But I'm talking not about money, or about individuals. I'm talking about the company's personality. How deluded it is. How many people are going to get cut once the hubris levels come down a bit. How long they can do no evil when they can't even publish guidelines for duplicating a graphic logo (that I've been able to find...)

        >Maybe you should stick to lecturing the indecisive hippies in your class.

        Yeah, sure. And you stick to heckling the lecturers of said hippies.~
    • by eh2o ( 471262 )

      Complete lack of conventional role separation is the norm at Google.

      FWIW user-submitted material tends to produce low quality results anyways... not terribly surprising that they came up with this junk.

  • Andre Resende (Score:4, Informative)

    by zanybrainy941 ( 972076 ) on Sunday January 11, 2009 @10:47PM (#26412675)
    Andre Resende got it right in the first place.
    • Agreed. His 'g' is much easier to see.

      Way to over-engineer the submission, Google.

    • by Parsec ( 1702 )
      At first I didn't see the "g" in the Google variation, it looked like an abstract 3-color blobs on the left. André's, I think, is much better; simple, clear and instantly recognizable.
  • The purpose of a website's icon -- or any icon, for that matter -- is to provide a visual way to quickly find something in a list. Sometimes, the icon represents some abstract concept; in most applications, the "save" icon is a floppy disk, even though they're nearly obsolete. However, if the icon is unique, experienced users have no trouble connecting it with what it represents. I use icons exclusively for my bookmarks toolbar.

    Of course, this only works when the icons don't change. Google has recently chan

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      Yes, it is a usability problem.

      In much the same way, a penny is money.

  • How many ways can you create a 16x16 pixel image? At what point does trademark/copyright no longer apply?

    • by paul248 ( 536459 )

      If the pixels are black and white, 1.16 x 10^77 ways.

      For 24-bit color, a helluvalot more.

      I assume trademark/copyright will no longer apply here once humans colonize the entire universe, and the population starts to get closer to those numbers.

  • All you /.'ers jumping out to defend google, now you see what it's come down to. "Don't be evil", right?

    I guess we see how that really works, now don't we.

  • It's the AVG logo rotated 90 degrees CCW with a G on it without the 3D light and shadow. []

    Still, I like the old favicon. The new one isn't that great.

  • ... it just looks pathetic. I started noticing this at the weekend, and just thought : Why are they using such an amateur looking icon. The firefox search bar icon is so much better.
  • Subject (Score:2, Funny)

    by z-j-y ( 1056250 )

    the icon is gay.

  • UGLY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quixote9 ( 999874 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @10:38AM (#26416555) Homepage
    It wasn't broke, but somebody in Marketing just had to fix it.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.