Ever wondered what or who is behind all the fun modifications of the Google logo? If you visit Google frequently (and you probably do, considering it’s the number one most popular website for Internet services consumers), you’ve probably noticed the occasional unique, artistic rendition of the Google logo on the otherwise very plain home page. Whether they’re celebrating a holiday or some famous invention/event/person, Google keeps things interesting as well as providing a unique outlet to learning something new in one click.
The official Google Doodler is Dennis Hwang, an ambitious Stanford graduate who began at Google as an intern. He has since become the head of all of Google’s webmasters, and designs Google Doodles as a part time project. His favorite doodles celebrate famous artist’s birthdays, like Picasso and Michelangelo, which reflects his education and love for art and art history. Some of his doodles include braille dots in place of the Google letters to celebrate the birthday of Louis Braille, and a row of voting booths with the letters inside the curtains on Election Day. The “l” held open one curtain as the “g” was exiting the booth displaying a “vote” sticker. You can find more doodles at http://www.google.com/holidaylogos.html.
Google Doodles, displayed on the Google homepage in place of the usual Google logo, are any manipulation of the original logo to celebrate innovation, creativity, education, and fun—the things that Google supports. Hwang said in an interview that the Google logos avoid religious inclinations and are “fun and about Google.” They want to avoid trivializing important beliefs, events, and causes.
When you see a Google Doodle, you can hover over it to see a brief description of what is being celebrated. When you click on the Google Doodle, you will be taken to a Google search results page on that topic.
Last year, Google opened a contest for school-aged children in the U.S. to create a Google doodle design. The 2008 theme was “What if?” and each entry depicted the student’s wildest imagination—from creatures to inventions to world peace. Carefully selected judges chose winners from each state in 4 grade brackets, K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Regional winners were then chosen from each grade bracket within 10 sections of US states. Finally, the top four winners of each grade bracket were chosen, 1 of which was the official national winner.
This year the contest ran again, this time asking the students to draw their Google as “My wish for the world” The National Winner, 6th grader Christin Engelberth, doodled “A New Beginning”, depicting a colorful, prosperous Earth. The top three semifinalists included “Friendship Around the World”, “Stop and Smell the Flowers”, and “From the Ashes”. The winner was announced on May 20, 2009 and her doodle displayed on Google’s homepage the following day.
The 2009 contest included an online voting on the regional winners, open to the public for one week. The regional winners were given a t-shirt with their doodles printed on them and a trip to Google’s headquarters. The winners were announced, the top 4 receiving a laptop and the national winner also receiving a 15,000 college scholarship. Pictures of the winning Google doodles, contest dates and details, and history of Google doodling can be found at www.doodle4google.com.
Google Doodles… now isn’t that fascinating?