We believe Google Search must be losing market share to Bing for the search portal to behave this way. First Google search result page is revamped with a left column similar to Bing. And now a background image on the search portal? And one that is poorly done that could make the page looks real ugly depending on the selected image. Luckily you can turn off the background and restore back the white background.
Google websites has always been geeky looking, its their trademark. Google search portal with background image is like someone who has poor fashion taste wearing the wrong clothes and pretending to be a fashion model.