Google is spicing up its traditionally bland homepage with a new set of low-key skins. The new designs will decorate the front page of the search engine with panoramas that change according to the time of day and the weather outside.

The Google search homepage is already customisable; users can log in and add modules such as RSS news feeds, clocks, flash games and weather forecasts. The new official Google skins will soon be available to users in the same way.

Marissa Mater at Google said that the new decorative panoramas were designed to make the Google homepage more "homey".

The skins will depict typically tranquil settings such as a Japanese tea garden, a beach, a city skyline and a bus stop. When you go to add the skins to your Google homepage, you will be asked to enter your postal code in order for Google to update your scenery according to the weather in your area.

Four skins to choose

While there are only four skins to choose from at the moment, Google says that there will be more added regularly, with the possibility of user-created panoramas coming in in the future.

The scenes will also include a number of Easter eggs (hidden feature or secret message) which can be accessed by clicking a certain area of the screen at the right time of day. Google is being very tight-lipped as to what these Easter eggs might be, saying only that they are designed to amuse.