20 years of Google: What’s the day’s doodle
Be it Christmas, MF Husain’s 100th birth anniversary or actress Nutan turning 81, Google ensures you don’t forget. Quirky stick figures, interactive multimedia games and open contests for sketches, the billions of people logging into the google search engine every morning also look forward to the day’s doodle.
These fun changes to the logo have a history as old as the company itself.
“In 1998, before the company was incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert,” says the company blog. They placed a stick figure drawing behind the second ‘o’ in Google, implying that the founders were out of office.
In 2000, the current head of web, Dennis Hwang, an intern at the time, was asked to produce a doodle for Bastille Day. Denis’s doodle — it featured fireworks and the French flag — was so well received that he was appointed Google’s ‘chief doodler’.
Initially, the doodle was the same across all countries and was restricted to well-recognised national holidays. Over the years it began to be used to celebrate events, people and objects, from women scientists that few people had heard of to tournaments like the football World Cup.
This demand led to a team of artists and engineers dedicated to creating doodles based in different countries.
“The team members get together annually to decide which topics will be celebrated with a Doodle. The ideas come from numerous sources, including Googlers and Google users from around the world. In addition, we also commission artists local to the native country to create the art,” says a Google spokesperson.
The spokesperson explains that though people anyway would get to know the information shared on a doodle, the idea is to teach people something new.
Music, videos and interactive games have made it to doodles over this decade. On October 8, 2010, Google ran its first video doodle, an animation short that celebrated the 70th birth anniversary of John Lennon. With ‘Imagine’ playing in the background, groovy sketches flowed into patterns that eventually combined with his iconic spectacles to form the logo.
In recent years, the range of subjects has become more whimsical and eclectic too. In June, it was an interactive doodle on the history of garden gnomes. In August, the doddle celebrated the 187th birth anniversary of the ‘father of modern football’, Ebenezer Cobb Morley.
“While there are many considerations, overall the Doodle selection process aims to celebrate a diverse mix of topics that reflect Google’s personality, teach people something new, and most importantly, be meaningful to local cultures,” the spokesperson says.