It’s such a small thing — only 16 pixels by 16 pixels — but, when folks are browsing along day-to-day, the favicon is how they find the browser tab that has Google.com open, or the favorite link to Google. And Google has changed this iconic image this week, for the first time since 2009.
The company has been testing a similar new image, all blue, since at least February. Now, they have adopted it for Google.com. Each other Google property — Google+, Play, Gmail, etc. — has its own unique favicon.
The last time the company changed the image it was resigned in part via a design contest. That colorful favicon lasted from 2009 to 2012. The new one looks very much like the reverse of one that was used back in 2008 — while that one was blue on white, this one is white and blue. This time, the switch could be part of Google’s “simpler and more beautiful” interface initiative. I’ve got an inquiry out to Google and will update if they have anything to say about the change.
Here’s a peek at previous Google favicons:
And, in context, in reverse chronological order: