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Thursday 5 February 2009

Google's New Look

You might not have noticed but Google has changed just a little - it's got a new favicon.

The favicon, for those who don't know, is a little square graphic measuring 16 pixels along each side that appears in the location bar of your browser when you visit the site like so:

IE location bar showing Google web address and favicon

What's the point?

Well, it's far from essential to your website, but if you're lucky enough to have someone bookmark your website, the favicon will appear in the Bookmarks or Favourites menu like so:

IE favourites menu showing Google and favicons

and it also appears on the tabs. Here's how it looks in Google Chrome:

Google Chrome tab showing with favicons

Google's favicon has changed twice in the last year or so (chronologically from left to right):
Google favicon (enlarged to 80 x 80 pixels)Google favicon (enlarged to 80 x 80 pixels)Google favicon (enlarged to 80 x 80 pixels)
Favicons are quite simple to create using Photoshop, although it's trickier than you might think creating a work of art that's no more than 16 pixels across. personally I think Google's new favicon calls to mind the London 2012 logo crossed with the South African flag, but maybe that's the look they were going for.

You can make one yourself using Photoshop by downloading this free plug-in from Telegraphics
Favicon maker - Create a favicon from any image

Alternatively, there are at least a couple of websites with free tools you can use to make your own favicons, one from Dynamic Drive and another from RealWorld Graphics.

For regular Google news, you can check the official Google blog. Recently they've announced the new version of Google Earth, which now allows you to explore the sea bed as well as the stars, and there's a new widget from Google News that allows you to very simply put customised news headlines on your website for free.