The more things change at Google, the more they stay the same.

The home page is back to its iconic look - familiar logo on white background - after a short-lived demonstration of how photographs can be used as a background.

This morning, visitors were surprised to see a photo filling the screen except for a whitish Google logo and a small set of links, including "Change background image."

Clicking that phrase let users pick from a gallery of images - or upload one of their own. The customizing option debuted last week, and today's revamping aimed to spread the word.

But users wondered if the change was permanent - or an attempt to imitate or undercut Bing. The year-old Microsoft search engine changes its photo backgrounds every day.

By midday, Google backed off, resurrecting the old look, but leaving "Change background image" for users who like the option.

Google explained in an update on its Official Blog:

"We had planned to run an explanation of the showcase . . . 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."

"As we experiment"?

Let that be a warning to all Googlephiles - more surprises probably await.

But maybe next time, Google will provide a "Give Me the Old Look" option. This morning there wasn't one - except for turning the whole screen a kind of ghostly mix of white and off-white.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.