Alex Hudson

Thoughts on Technology, Product, & Strategy

Getting rid of Google’s annoying “background image”

For some reason, Google have decided to put large images as the backdrop to their search engine. Not only are they large and grating, but they change over time and it’s horrible.

I’ve turned this off by putting the following in Firefox’s userContent.css:

@-moz-document domain(www.google.co.uk) {
 #fpdi { display: none !important; }
 body { background-color: #ccc !important; }
}

This gets rid of most of the nasty. However, sadly, the file you need to edit may or may not exist, and could be in a variety of different places, and of course there doesn’t seem to be any good way of doing this easily. First, you need to find your profile folder – and once you’ve located that, the userContent.css file goes in the chrome directory.

Make sure it’s the userContent.css file you edit and not the similar userChrome.css file – they’re not the same thing.

Update: just to be clear; you will need to restart your browser after you make this change – it’s not instant. Also, you may need to change the domain given – I use .co.uk, so that’s what I put in there. For google.com users, it seems like you can change your background without needing an account for now – but who knows for how long?

Also, my theory is that Google have done this to be annoying. If you have an iGoogle account, you can set the background to be white again – which a lot of people will want to do. Implicit message: your experience is better with an iGoogle account. Sorry Google, but I don’t actually want one of those.

Previous

Thunderbird: Fedora & the future

Next

Bongo & Roundcube

4 Comments

  1. Hi Alex,

    Great blog post! I found it by typing “annoying google background image” into google 🙂

    You could also paste your css directly into a userstyle via a great Firefox addon named “Stylish”. It lets you switch between style-mods and turn them on and off easily …

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2108/

    And best of all – there is a community of style-modders out there with lots of alternative styles for the google search page.

    http://userstyles.org

    So no need to give up privacy for freedom of style 🙂

  2. Someone has just posted a nice “Classic Google” style at userstyles.org – It also removes that annoying backdrop shadow, and brings the good old Google logo back to life:

    @namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

    @-moz-document url("http://www.google.co.uk/"), url("http://google.com")
    {

    /* kill the background */
    img#fpdi
    {
    display: none !important;
    }

    /* set the logo back to default */
    div#logo
    {
    background-image: url("http://www.google.com/images/logo.png") !important;
    }

    /* get rid of the drop shadow on text */
    #fctr, #fctr a, .sblc a, #cpFooter a, #cpf a, #prm a, #addlang, #addlang a, #fctr p
    {
    color: #333333 !important;
    text-shadow: none !important;
    }

    /* get rid of the change/remove background link */
    a#cpNavLink
    {
    display: none;
    }

    }

    You can download it at http://userstyles.org/styles/31520

  3. Alex

    Great comments guys, thanks

    @Mrs0ft – that link does work, but I’d want the default homepage I go to looking like that, rather than having to set it as a bookmark / homepage.

    @floxter – brilliant, that’s even better 🙂

Leave a Reply