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Google's Marissa Mayer Explains The New Favicon

     
8:13 am on Jun 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You may have noticed that Google has a new favicon, the small icon you see in your browser next to the URL or in your bookmarks list. Some people have wondered why we changed our favicon -- after all, we hadn't in 8.5 years(!). The reason is that we wanted to develop a set of icons that would scale better to some new platforms like the iPhone and other mobile devices. So the new favicon is one of those, but we've also developed a group of logo-based icons that all hang together as a unified set.

Google's Marissa Mayer Explains The New Favicon [googleblog.blogspot.com]

9:41 am on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've been involved heavily this past year with favicon development. It is truly amazing how much time and effort goes into that little 16x16, 32x32 and 48x48 piece of real estate. I like how they show all the various renditions. You know if Google is investing that much effort into favicons, it may be time to go out and get your own. :)

How do you squeeze that much Brand into a 16x16 area?

9:46 am on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Learn the art of Rice writing? heh
11:09 am on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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How do you squeeze that much Brand into a 16x16 area?

Not sure it really matters

The way I see it the real question could be:
Does the avg user care about it?
How much (again for the avg user) brand recognition exists -if any-?

<edit>Indeed my questions are ONLY favicon related</edit>

12:22 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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New Google favicon appears at first glance as a useless squiggle. Old one was better.

dc

1:04 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Im used to the uppercase 'G', when I have many tabs open it takes me longer to find the google search tab its not what im used to I guess.

Also in my opinion the the lowercase 'g' although looks more contemporary doesn't look as authoratitve or as predominant as the uppercase 'G'.

1:28 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I understand that a global internet company should have a homogeneous brand approach to recognize the brand even in 16x16 pixels, but that icon is a violation of the design guidelines unless they lowercase the logo on the homepage, too.

New marketing guys with too much time on their hands :-)

P!

1:33 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google's Marissa Mayer Explains.........

Frankly, my dear, who cares ?

1:49 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ah Ha!, another piece of the Google black box is revealed.

This is confirmation that Google has grown up (bloated?) and acquired employees whom do not contribute to the bottom line.

[edited by: Edge at 1:51 pm (utc) on June 7, 2008]

1:50 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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To me it looks like a corrupted image whose bottom part hasn't finished loading or something. Bad move.

EDIT: in fact after checking the article I see I _am_ getting a corrupted image, with the bottom part in black.

It seems to be a Mac blunder, I'm getting it on all my Macs, with Camino and Safari.

1:54 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If the best-known icon creation application (search Microangelo) goes public, buy shares!
3:01 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It is an important branding opportunity that should not be overlooked.
5:59 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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People are too used to see the upper case G as the favicon.

The new lower case g is an unnecessary distraction.

6:03 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The new one appears to be less domineering, less likely to take over.
6:48 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Favicons are important, sites I visit often that don't have one bug me to no end (they're far more difficult to find in the bookmarks list).

Google's new favicon iteration is, IMHO, a bad change. The old one was instantly recognizable, clean, "authoritative" as a capital, it just said "I am G for GOOGLE." It worked.

The new one is lowercase, and as already mentioned, less authoritative. It's also a much "softer," more artistic font, further diminishing its authority. The "shaded" background looks broken against a solid white background. It also breaks in Firefox some of the time, not just Safari, with a white top and black bottom (at least for me, in both *nix and windows). Its a less legible font, it takes a couple seconds to realize it's a "G" at all.

It breaks with the existing branding of Google's font schemes.

On the plus side, it vaguely suggests a Moebius Ring, suggesting "infinity" - a strong subconscious image for many people.

Overall, I give it grade C. A notch above "fail", but only a notch.

Note to the talented engineers at Google: Brush up your resumes. If Google can devote significant resources to a triviality such as this, then the Marketing and Management Wogs are taking over. Bad sign for Google's corporate culture.

p.s. My wife (the one in the family with the Graphic Arts degree), disagrees with me. She notes that corporate image trending over the past decade has been moving toward lower case logos. Lower case is "more flexible, less dogmatic and rigid", it's friendlier and more approachable.

She also berated me for being presumptive in giving it a "Grade C" when I didn't fully understand the reasoning behind the new choice.

I had to bite my tongue, because its Saturday and I haven't had enough coffee to get into the age old "Art that has to be explained isn't art, its just nonsense" argument.

8:55 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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When I first saw the new favicon (in my browser's address bar) I read it as a deformed digit 8, not a lowercase g.
9:19 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I can't belive that i even care - but I like the old "G" much better.

When I have too much free time I go fishing insted of changing a winner ;-)

9:50 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have to say I prefer the capital G rather than the new lowercase g for reasons mainly posted above, its more authoritative and for me it relates better with their brand, having said that perhaps it'll just take a while to get used to and a couple of months from now it'll be the norm and i wont remember anything that came before.

Strange though that they have choosen to, at this point and for the last few weeks change pretty much all of their pages to the new favicon except Adwords, i would have thought that once they made the decision to make the change, it would have been made universally across all of their products.

11:13 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The old one looks better, but I don't care much TBH
11:20 pm on June 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think the big 'G' is more appropriate to Google.
12:53 am on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Horrible idea to change it. And a fireable offense to change it to something that looks like a toilet.

Some one in marketing was trying WAY too hard to come up with a problem that they had a solution for.

2:06 am on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Of course everyone knows that there was absolutely no way to scale that capital 'G'. Good job on transitioning the favicon infrastructure over to a squiggle. And to think they pulled the whole thing off without a hitch. This is a proud day for Google and all the whole team who have demonstrated the passion and dedicated team work for creating meaningful change.
3:15 am on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Frankly, my dear, who cares ?

You cared apparently enough to click all the way to this thread and actually type your comment. Lotsa care right there.

6:28 am on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I seriously hate the new one, looks totally stupid and very UN-Google. I thought my browser had a bug or something at first.
3:49 pm on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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p.s. My wife (the one in the family with the Graphic Arts degree), disagrees with me. She notes that corporate image trending over the past decade has been moving toward lower case logos. Lower case is "more flexible, less dogmatic and rigid", it's friendlier and more approachable.

The experts seem to be the only ones who like it. I don't want to approach the G. I just want to see which tab is Google at a glance.

This is no big deal, but the fact that MM spends personal effort on this says a lot about what happens when a corporation succeeds beyond expectation...and why a juggernaut like Microsoft loses the edge after awhile..

I remember when our company was getting ready to go public and we brought in a marketing department. They spent a ton of money and energy on a new logo / business cards / letterhead (even though our old one was great!).... The day it came out, the rank and file noticed something that escaped the notice of the people who spent a year on it...the logo was almost identical to Toyota's... Ouch.

4:10 pm on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't like it - I vote for a return to the old one.
7:17 pm on June 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The reason is that we wanted to develop a set of icons that would scale better to some new platforms like the iPhone and other mobile devices.

This makes sense. The icon for the iPhone/Touch is 57x57 and they want to keep it uniform. We have created icons for our sites because they look better then the screen capture that is the default on the iPhone.

All it takes is adding a file called apple-touch-icon.png to get a very nice clean looking icon. Google obviously sees icons for hand helds as the future and wants to keep consistency.

5:28 am on June 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's really interesting to see the iterations that go into a design process like this. Design has always been my weak point and it's REALLY weak.

Those iterations are really a small window into the design process for Google as a whole and it's pretty darn cool.

5:42 am on June 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In exactly what way is the old 'G' not scaleable?
11:54 am on June 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Using a new favicon that several people think looks bad could lead Google into a "new coke" vs. "old coke" controversy/publicity.
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