If you’d like to know why I have Google set as my homepage, it is really just for one main reason: the Google doodles. Have you ever taken a look at them? They are genius! And, to think, they evolved entirely by accident.
When Sergey Brin and Larry Page launched Google in 1996, their goal was to create a search engine that was more simple, powerful, and unique than any other. So they enlisted Ruth Kedar to design a company logo which conveyed just that. Keeping with the themes, Kedar chose to go with primary colors, but instead of using a traditional pattern, she put a secondary color on the L to evoke the idea that “Google doesn’t follow the rules.” Which it doesn’t.
In the summer of 1999, Brin and Page set work aside for a few days to attend the Burning Man Festival, a festival described by many participants as an experiment in community and radical self expression. To inform browsers of their whereabouts in the event of a site malfunction, the founders created the first of what has become many Google doodles.
Shortly afterwards, in 2000, Brin asked then-intern David Hwang to design a logo to honor Bastille Day. Hwang has been the official Google Doodler ever since. A former art and computer science double-major at Stanford University, Hwang now takes on a secondary role as Google’s Webmaster. If you’d like to see him in action, just check out the video below. It’s great!
Hwang’s doodles, about 50 a year, usually mark public holidays or honor cultural icons, such as Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock and Edvard Munch, to name a few. They also serve a serious business function by generating traffic to Google’s site and many others. Clicking on any Google doodle produces a string of search results about the doodled topic. If that isn’t proof that art itself works wonders, then I don’t know what is. Here are some of what I consider Hwang’s best doodles from the past few years.
For those people like me who think that Hwang has their dream job, don’t worry, you or your loved ones can get in on the fun as well. Google holds an annual Doodle4Google competition for students in grades K-12. This year’s theme is “What I Wish for the World.” The winner will win a trip to the Googleplex and the hosting of his or her doodle for 24 hours on the Google website.