LTW wire reports

Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) home page has gone back to basics after users griped about a promotional stunt that wrapped colorful photos around the Internet’s most popular search engine.

The complaints poured in Thursday when Google.com visitors were greeted with full-screen photos of sand dunes, flowers and other artistry instead of the website’s familiar white background.

Marissa Mayer, vice president for Search Products & User Experience at Google, wrote in a blog:

“ Last week, we launched the ability to set an image of users’ choosing as the background for the Google homepage. Today, we ran a special ‘doodle’ that showcased this functionality by featuring a series of images as the background for our homepage. We had planned to run an explanation of the showcase alongside it—in the form of a link on our homepage. Due to a bug, the explanatory link did not appear for most users. As a result, many people thought we had permanently changed our homepage, so we decided to stop today’s series early. We appreciate your feedback and patience as we experiment and iterate.”

The imagery was meant to draw attention to a new tool that Google introduced last week to allow people to customize the page with their own photos. The decorations have worked well for Microsoft, whose Bing search engine features a new photo each day.

But Google’s one-day gimmick upset a lot of people who thought the change might be permanent, prompting a switch back the site’s Spartan look.