A good reason not to participate in Google’s Favicon challenge
Of course none of you power users out there has failed to notice Google’s new, to my mind abysmally ugly Favicon. It looks weirdly smudged, like something that the CEO’s nephew might have designed on his first computer 15 years ago – the image to the right shows both the old and new favicon in browser view, the new one as a design proposal and finally the actual browser favicon if you blow it up the the dimensions of the design proposal.
According to a recent joint blog post from their VP Search Products & User Experience, Marissa Mayer, and web designer Micheal Lopez, they were looking for an icon “that would scale better to some new platforms like the iPhone and other mobile devices.” I don’t quite see improved scalability happen here – the close-up of the new icon looks anything but convincing. Designers: Just because you want your product to be web2.0 doesn’t mean you have to add glossiness and shine to every bit you make. Also: Changing an icon that’s been around for 8.5 years (in a company that went online 9.5 years ago) and has become an online household name is probably not a good idea.
Yet things get more baffling: It seems as if the folks at Google are not too happy with the current solution – which they chose from a selection of over 300 permutations – either, because they have also launched a little crowdsourcing competition for yet a newer Favicon: “Submit your Google favicon idea“, they say, and those who do consider to participate, I dearly urge you to have good look at the fine print first.
As is the rule with such competitions,* participants “irrevocably assign and transfer to Google, all rights, title and interest to any content you submit as part of this event”. The real catch comes in point 4:
4. Publicity: You agree to participate in any promotions or publicity related to this event. You grant to Google and its subsidiaries an unrestricted, sublicensable, assignable, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, fully paid-up license to your name, voice, image, persona, likeness and performance in any media taken or to be taken of you by or on behalf of Google (“Likeness”). This license includes the right to 1) reproduce, modify, create derivative works of, and otherwise use your Likeness, in whole or in part, in any manner or matter or in combination with any other materials in any format or media, 2) publicly display, publicly perform, sell, rent, distribute (directly or indirectly), transmit, or broadcast your Likeness by any means. You hereby waive all rights, including any right or prior approval, and release Google from, and will neither sue nor bring any proceeding against Google for, any claim or cause of action based upon or relating to the use and exploitation of your Likeness.
What? Looks like someone is confusing this Favicon competition with “Pop Idol” or “Britain has got Talent”. I find it a little hard to digest that a 16 by 16 pixel icon should grant a multinational company the right to your likeness, and all of that royalty free. So, dearest designers, keep the right to your voice, image, persona, likeness and performance and stay away from this competition!
I first found an alert to these terms and services on Datenschmutz.net ,a blog by Ritchie Pettauer, in German.
*) The rule says who? We chose a Creative Commons License for our Linked Data Vision Competition.