OK, it’s gone. After countless years of having Google as my home screen I’ve been tipped over the edge by an animated doodle. Yes, they’re quite fun, and they’re informative too. But I don’t like the way they’re jammed into the page. They’ve been a feature forever. They shouldn’t still look like an afterthought.

And they feel completely at odds with the Google brand. Of course, you could argue that they have become an integral part of the brand. Well, you could. But then you could have said that about Microsoft Office’s paperclip.

Most importantly though, they run completely counter to the very singular purpose of the Google search home screen – to quickly retrieve the information you need in the moment. I’m sure they increase engagement. Of course they increase engagement. Like the engagement of untangling a power cord. Or searching through a handbag for a bunch of keys. But the search page is one of the few places on the internet where the desire should be for the least engagement possible. Any friction is bad. Why develop lightening fast algorithms and browsers, then place a roadblock in front of them?

I really like the Google search screen – when it’s doodle free. It’s incredibly bold in its simplicity. You would expect an easy way to disable doodles to maintain that simplicity, but there isn’t. Fortunately, since most browsers now integrate Google search into the address bar, walking away – though tinged with regret – has been easy. I’ve now replaced my home screen with this…