We'll admit right here: you probably already have a very good idea what this article's about. But if you don't, please visit Google.com and take in whatever desert or field of flowers is on display as a background image. And now consider yourself up to speed on the fact that Google's mimicking Bing.
That's one hard-to-avoid conclusion, anyway. Another is that Google's actually decided to drive searchers to use Bing (compare the "synthetic lollipops that hurt your eyes" image to the gorgeous picture of Belem Tower and see if you don't feel the same way).
Google's official explanation is that it's trying to promote a certain feature, though. Marissa Mayer stated on the Official Google Blog, "Last week, we announced a new feature that lets you add a favorite photo or image to the background of your Google.com homepage. To provide you with an extra bit of inspiration, we've collaborated with several well-known artists, sculptors and photographers to create a gallery of background images you can use to personalize your Google homepage."
Then Mayer got to the point, adding, "We'll be featuring these images as backgrounds on the Google homepage over the next 24 hours."
So this rather unfortunate experiment should be over soon. Not soon enough for many people, granted, but perhaps far too soon for the liking of executives at Microsoft.
UPDATE: Things have returned to normal ahead of schedule.