So here is Google's search page today, as on many special occasions they have their custom logo on show.
During the summer the Live Search homepage started featuring new images every day, using the entire frame, previously there had been a gradient here instead, on the image were a bunch of hotspots which pointed to related search results.
Is it me or does Google still look a little too 1990s compared to this?
Before you mention performance, on Live Search the image is loaded in the background, so it doesn't slow down the loading of the page itself, once its ready it fades into view, its actually quite a nice looking effect.
The only downside is its not available for the UK version yet, which means I hit the US site everyday just to see what they've got on there. Let's get that sorted please, there's only been a few days where I could say that specific image only really applies to the US market, like when they have images of sporting events for example. But the rest transfers over well.
From a search point of view, I use Live Search for my normal stuff these days, with a good success rate, especially since IE8 now shows suggestions for searching in the search bar at the top as you start typing (like on the actual search pages themselves - well excluding the UK sites again). The quality of the results is pretty much the same now, I find myself only hitting Google when I've got a more technical query that needs a bit more work, like error messages and things like that where Live Search isn't quite there yet.