Judging by a recent source code change, it seems likely Google's Chrome browser will sport a new logo that looks less like the offspring of an electronic Simon memory game and a robotic Roomba floor cleaner.
The keen Chrome-observing eyes of Peter Beverloo spotted a new logo that arrived today for Chromium, the open-source underpinnings of Google's closed-source Chrome browser. The new logo still complies with the unwritten rule that browser logos must be circular but looks more like an abstract geometric pattern than the shiny happy plasticky objet d'art that is the current Chrome logo. Like the current Chromium logo, the new one is all blue, but there are four compartments that could be used for the red, green, blue, and yellow Google colors used in the Chrome logo.
Update 10:05 a.m. PT: There seems to be some confusion here about the all-blue logo. It's only for Chromium, not Chrome. Google uses the all-blue logo only for Chromium, which is devoid of proprietary software such as Adobe Flash Player that comes with Chrome proper. If Google introduces a similarly revamped Chrome logo as what Chromium is getting, expect it to inherit the multiple colors of today's Chrome logo. See the bottom of the story for a comparison of the logos. Also, it's a good bet to expect an all-yellow version for the Chrome Canary version.
Logos are superficial, but Google is a very brand-conscious company. It's entertaining to its phalanx of designers endlessly fiddling with logos and favicons to try to strike the right balance between fun and unintimidating on the one hand and serious and commanding on the other. Plus, of course, logo changes often go hand in hand with marketing and promotion efforts triggered by new ambitions or new possibilities.
Doodles, comic books, cartoons, and reformatted search results pages notwithstanding, design isn't always an easy job at Google. One visual design leader for the company, Douglas Bowman, left Google in 2009 because he believed the company was too data-obsessed--for example, testing 41 shades of blue to with users of its Web site.