Who are Google's customers?
Google and its current disastrous background
Their reason why Google tried this experiment is to force users to either log into their account to remove the background or to get people to sign up.
The logic is their core believe in supplying the user with the right information at the right time. This in Google speak includes sending or showing adverts that are relevant to the user.
By forcing people to sign up with a Google Account (preferably with GMAIL) an IP address (which could be a home or an office used by 1 person or 20) becomes an actual person with a name and email address.
Google could now offer a much higher level of consumer data to its advertisers as they could stop taking in numbers and trends and now speak in terms of the volume of people who search for xyz.
The concept was very clever unfortunately the execution was shoddy. The graphics were obviously chosen by some techie engineer (I employ two and they quite like the designs).
I think the whole issue poses the question
"are the users Google's customer or are the advertisers"