Update: 1/9/09, Google updated their icon again, take our poll and let us know if you like it. To take the poll, click here.
Such minor things as changing a favorite icon is noticed immediately by people. Google, sometime over night, updated their favorite icon to a new icon. The favorite icon is the little icon that is displayed in the browser URL bar on most modern browsers. Here is the before and after:
If you do not see it, try shift refreshing on the google.com/favicon.ico page a few times and then go back to Google.com.
Personally, I miss the old one. I wonder if this is a long term change or someone at Google decided to have some fun. Or maybe Google wanted to see if the smallest, most insignificant change can drive up buzz about the company. Heck, Google can hiccup and people will not stop talking about it. Case in point?
What would be neat is if they updated their favorite icon with their seasonal logos.
Update: I received a comment from Google on this and posted it at Search Engine Land.
We recognized there was a need for a Google icon that would better work across multiple applications including web, mobile and client applications. We felt the small 'g' had many of the characteristics that best represent our brand: it's simple, playful, and unique. We will be looking to improve and enhance this icon as we move forward.
Update: 1/9/09, Google updated their icon again. Here is the new one: