By Harry McCracken | Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm
If you visited Google on Sunday–and odds are pretty good that you did–you may have noticed that its logo sports what seems to be a typo but is really a celebration of the company’s eleventh anniversary…
The special logo is known as a Google Doodle, and it’s a tradition almost exactly as old as Google itself (the first one appeared in September of 1998 to celebrate the Burning Man festival). And if Google Doodles were ever a scarce resource, that day is long past. Shall we recap September–so far?
On September 5th, 15th, and 20th, Google undertook an exercise in intentionally cryptic sequential narrative to celebrate the birthday of H.G. Wells…
On 9/09/09 at 9:09:09, it briefly ran a subtle commemorative Doodle…
It’s important to understand that if you only see the Google Doodles that appear on the company’s United States site, you’re missing out on at least half the fun. On September 18th, for instance, Google Chile set off fireworks to celebrate the 199th anniversary of Chile’s independence from Spain. The good people of Belize got the same logo three days later to mark the twenty-eighth anniversary of its independence from the United Kingdom…
On September 19th, German Google users got a celebration of Oktoberfest (remarkably, one that doesn’t show anyone hoisting a gigantic mug of beer)…
On September 23rd in Saudi Arabia, Google acknowledged the anniversary of that country’s 1932 unification…
Germany held national elections on Sunday, and Google made its mark…
And as I write this, it’s Monday in many countries, and Google is commemorating the traditional anniversary of the birth of Confucius (presumably there’s a good chance this Doodle will show up in the U.S. in a matter of hours)…
That’s ten Google Doodles in September–not counting any I don’t know about, nor any that the company will unveil between now and end of day on Wednesday. One out of three days in September, in other words, have been graced by a Google Doodle.
From all this we can conclude the following:
1) Google really likes coming up with Google Doodles;
2) It doesn’t mind doing ones that are quirky and mysterious–in fact, it revels in doing so;
3) It also doesn’t mind doing ones that don’t have universal appeal, such as its 2008 tribute to Walter Gropius;
4) It looks at Doodles not as a once-in-a-great-while treat to be doled out sparingly, but as goodies to be shared in abundance. They’re so plentiful that the company seems to have given up on keeping a record of all of them–making Google Doodles one of the few things on the Web which Google isn’t attempting to organize and make universally accessible and useful. (New independent sites such as Doodle Repository and Doodle Source are picking up the hard work.)
So is it unreasonable to wonder if we might see the day when every day would be Google Doodle day?
I don’t think so–in fact, once Doodles are no longer unexpected, seeing the plain ol’ Google logo is almost a disappointment. Here, I’ll come up with a roster of things to celebrate (or at least commemorate) in October, and I’ll even mock up some Doodles.
October 1st is World Vegetarian Day…
October 2nd marks the fifty-ninth anniversary of the debut of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts…
On October 3rd, 1955, Mr. Moose’s friend and patsy Captain Kangaroo appeared on CBS for the first time…
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum began work on his most famous work on October 4th, 1927…
October 5th is, of course, World Teachers’ Day…
On October 6th, 1889, Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture, ushering in the age of silent movies…
And Yo-Yo Ma turns fifty-four on October 7th.
Okay, I’m too winded to do any more art, but here’s the remainder of the month in events that Google might find noteworthy.
October 8th: It’s Chevy Chase’s 66th birthday!
October 9th: The twenty-third anniversary of the first performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera
October 10th: Ed Wood, the worst movie director who ever lived, was born on this day in 1924
October 11th: NASA launches Apollo 7 on this day in 1968
October 12th: Jay Ward, producer of Rocky and Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle, passed away exactly twenty years ago
October 13th: In 54, Nero ascended to the Roman throne (who couldn’t imagine a swell Nero-themed Google Doodle?)
October 14th: Let’s all wish Roger Moore, a good James Bond and a better Saint, a happy eighty-second birthday
October 15th: Twenty years ago, Wayne Gretzky became the NHL’s all-time leading scorer
October 16th: It’s been exactly a quarter century since Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
October 17th: George Wendt, Cheers’ beloved Norm, turns 61 today (maybe the Google logo can wear Milk Bone underwear)
October 18th: The Grand Ole Opry opened in Nashville in 1925
October 19th: In 2003, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa on this day
October 20th: It’s been 119 years since the birth of Jelly Roll Morton
October 21st: Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement in 1824
October 22nd: The Supremes became the first girl group to hit #1 in the album charts in 1966
October 23rd: Weird Al Yankovic turns fifty!
October 24th: The George Washington Bridge opened today in 1931
October 25th: Vincent Price passed away on this day in 1993. We miss him still…
October 26th: In 1965, the Beatles were appointed to the Order of the British Empire
October 27th: Philadelphia is three hundred and twenty seven today!
October 28th: Spain opened its first railroad (between Barcelona and Mataró in 1848
October 29th: Winona “Girl, Interrupted” Ryder will be blowing out thirty-eight candles today
October 30th: In 1974, Muhammad Ali won the Rumble in the Jungle by knocking out George Foreman in the eighth round
October 31st: I’m told that many folks celebrate Halloween on this date.
If you don’t like my lineup, that’s fine–one of the neat things about doing this would be that most days present an infinite number of potentially Doodleworthy events to choose from. Which Google would need, if it were to tackle this challenge and try to avoid repeats.
I still suspect that chances are low that Google will ever move to do a Doodle a day–and if it ever does, I’ll be quietly pleased but will assume that it came up with the idea on its own. How would you feel about continuous Doodleism?