Google Doodles are a tool on the company’s homepage that are often used to highlight world issues, historic events, and celebrations around the globe.
The homepage for Google Search is one of the most-viewed web pages on the planet as it powers billions of searches on a daily basis. Right above the search box, though, Google’s logo appears, and on occasion, it’ll add something extra by using a “Doodle.” These Doodles can be as simple as additions to the traditional logo, but often go as far as completely redesigning Google’s logo with artistic creations.
When did Google Doodles start?
Google has been putting up these fun illustrations on its homepage for longer than the company has been an actual company.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with the concept in 1998 when they attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada. That first Doodle was as simple as putting a stick figure — similar to the Burning Man logo — behind the second “o” to signify that the founders were “out of office.”
From there, the idea of a Google Doodle progressed. In 2000, Dennis Hwang was asked to create a doodle for Bastille Day. That doodle was so well-received by users that Google decided to put Dennis in charge of the project from that point forward, which resulted in doodles appearing on the homepage much more often.
Now, Google employs a staff of talented illustrators — called doodlers — whose entire job is to come up with the illustrations that appear on Google’s homepage all over the world.
How often does the Google Doodle change?
In the early days, Google rarely changed the Doodle on its homepage, but now, the Doodle often changes on a daily basis.
The subject of a Doodle often depends on world events. For example, in April 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic affects the entire world, Google has dedicated a two-week block of Doodles to the “essential” workers who are helping the world continue to function during the pandemic. That includes healthcare workers, janitorial staff, food workers, and many others.
More often than not, you’ll find a Google Doodle in place on a holiday. Whether it’s a worldwide holiday or a local occasion, Google will display Doodles in different regions to celebrate. Clicking on the Doodle can sometimes result in a little game or interactive object, but most of the time it just pushes users into a search about that specific topic. Some notable doodles from 2020 so far include:
- January 19 Doodle celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February 29 Doodle celebrates Leap Day
- March 7 Doodle marks International Women’s Day with 3D mandala, more
- March 19 Doodle celebrates the onset of the spring season
- March 31 Doodle honors Dame Jean Macnamara, polio doctor
- April 2 Doodle offers coronavirus tips, ‘Stay Home. Save Lives.’
From time to time, Doodles can also appear based on ideas from users or even from contests. On a yearly basis, the “Doodle for Google” contest offers a theme and asks for submissions from K-12 students. Later in the year, Google picks a winner and their illustration is displayed on the homepage for the world to see! 2020’s theme is “I show kindness by…”
Where can I see a history of Google Doodles?
It can be fun to see the Doodles on Google’s homepage, but it’s also easy to miss them if you’re away from a computer. If you missed yesterday’s Doodle or just want to see what was used years in the past, Google has a historical archive.
At google.com/doodles, there’s a complete historical archive of every Doodle that’s ever been on the homepage. This also includes Doodles that only appeared in specific regions, so you might just find one you’ve never seen before.
How can I learn more about today’s Google Doodle?
As mentioned, Google updates the illustration on its homepage on a regular basis. Often, though, the whole story isn’t told just by the details on the search and you’ll need to do some further digging.
That’s where we’ve got you covered.
For most Google Doodles, we’ve got a full rundown of what it means, who’s seeing it, and if there are any neat tricks behind-the-scenes too. Just scroll down the page to see our latest coverage.