TOP 12: The best Google doodles of 2011
The search engine giant's innovative way of observing landmark events with special doodles has been a big hit with Internet users across the world. We bring you 12 of our favourite doodles of 2011.
Once every other week, the trademark logo of Google, Internet's most popular search engine, disappears to make way for a graphic, a photo, a video or on one occasion an interactive electric guitar.
Over the years, these 'doodles' have become increasingly popular with Internet users looking forward to every new one in anticipation.
The official blog of Google doodles informs us that the idea behind doodles was born even before the company was incorporated.
"In 1998... 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. They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd 'o' in the word Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were 'out of office'. While the first doodle was relatively simple, the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable events was born," a post on the blog reads.
It was about two years later -- in 2000 when Google founders Larry Page, Sergey Brin asked Dennis Hwang, an intern at the time to produce a doodle for Bastille Day.
The post continues, "It was so well received by our users that Dennis was appointed Google's chief doodler, and doodles started showing up more and more regularly on the Google homepage. In the beginning, the doodles mostly celebrated familiar holidays; nowadays, they highlight a wide array of events and anniversaries from the Birthday of John James Audubon to the Ice Cream Sundae."
To this day, the Google doodle team -- they call them 'doodlers' in the company -- has produced more than 1,000 doodles for the Google homepage.
While some of these doodles are global -- which means they reflect in all the homepages of the search engine giant -- others are restricted only to specific countries.
We bring you some of the doodles we loved here in India, in no particular order.
Image: Our favourite Google Doodles
Indian Independence Day
On the midnight of August 15 this year, Google replaced its usual logo and used this one with a picture of the Red Fort in the backdrop.
The Red Fort in Delhi is where Pt Jawaharlal Nehru first hoisted the national flag in 1947. Each year on August 15, the Prime Minister addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
Image: Indian Independence Day
The start of cricket World Cup 2011
Even though not many may have heard of or least of all played cricket in the US, it is something of a religion here in India. It is something that the Doodlers sitting in their American offices seemed to be aware of. This doodle appeared on February 19 -- the start of cricket World Cup 2011.
Image: The start of cricket World Cup 2011.
The search engine decided to keep things simple this year on Valentine's Day after their 2007 doodle got undue attention for seemingly forgetting the 'L'.
This year, it sought inspiration from the American artist Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculpture that itself been reproduced in different media including as a US postage stamp.
Image: Valentine's Day
The Makar Sankranti doodle that appeared on Google's homepage on January 14 this year, celebrated the day as 'Festival of Kites 2011'
Image: Makar Sankranti
80th anniversary of Alam Ara
Someone at Google seemed to remember what many of us may have forgotten -- the anniversary of India's first talkie, Alam Ara.
On March 14 this year the film celebrated its 80th anniversary. On the day this doodle -- an artist's impression of a scene from the movie featuring the legendary actress, Zubeida -- appeared on the homepage of the search engine.
Image: 80th anniversary of Alam Ara
On November 14 this year, Google celebrated Children's day with this colourful doodle of a bunch of musical instruments.
The doodle was special because it was the brainchild of Varsha Gupta, a Class Three student of Ryan International School in Greater Noida.
Gupta was chosen as winner of the Doodle4Google competition that Google organises regularly.
The search engine had announced that it would put the winning entry on its India homepage on Children's Day -- November 14 -- a promise they kept.
On the Google 4 Doodle site Gupta explains her creation in these words:
"India is a land of different cultures. In India Music plays a very important role. India has given many musical instruments to the world. Example: Tabla, Sarod, Veena, Shehnai etc.
Goddess Saraswati plays Veena, God Shiv plays damaru. According to our mythological stories musical instruments used to be played on all the occasions.
Even during war musical instruments were played. Lord Krishna's flute is known in the whole world for its magical music. In modern days Zakir Hussain is world famous as Tabla Mastro. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is known as a great Santoor player all over the world."
A panel of judges including artist Ganga Kadakia, actress Nandita Das and adman Prasoon Joshi picked the 45 finalists while Jennifer Hom, from Google's doodle team, chose the winning doodle.
Image: Children's Day
The colourful festival of Holi that fell on March 20 this year was celebrated with an equally colourful doodle.
Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday
On September 5, Google celebrated the birth anniversary of Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury.
Freddie who was born in Zanzibar (now a part of Tanzania) to Parsi parents was raised in India. He eventually moved with his family to England when he was 17.
There he earned a diploma in Art Graphic Design at Ealing Art College. After he graduated, Mercury did all kinds of jobs to stay afloat including sell second-hand clothes in Kensington Market in London.
He also moonlighted for a few bands and is even said to have held at job at the Heathrow Airport.
By April 1970, though, Freddie Mercury had found his calling -- he joined guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor and formed the band for which he will always be remembered -- Queen. Around this time he also changed his last name to Mercury.
Freddie Mercury composed numerous hits for Queen including Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer Queen, Somebody to Love, Don't Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and We Are the Champions among many others.
The Freddie Mercury doodle was in fact an animated Youtube video, similar to the John Lennon doodle that played 32 seconds of the erstwhile Beatles' most famous number, Imagine.
Image: Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday
Les Paul's 96th birthday
On June 9, a digital version of the electric guitar known as the Gibson Les Paul appeared on the Google homepage.
The doodle was to celebrate the 96th birthday of the legendary guitarist, songwriter and inventor Lester William Polsfuss better known as Les Paul.
Les Paul who died on August 12, 2009 had designed the solid body electric guitar and has been credited with a lot of recording innovations.
The really cool part about this doodle was you could actually play the guitar by rolling the cursor over it!
Image: Les Paul's 96th birthday
50th Anniversary of the first man in space
The Soviet pilot and astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to journey into space on April 12 1961.
To mark the 50th year of the historic event Google created this doodle that made the Vostok spacecraft launch when you rolled over the doodle.
Image: 50th Anniversary of the first man in space
Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday
One of our most favourite doodles was the one that appeared on April 16, Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday.
It was in fact the first live-action doodle created specially for the occasion starring the entire Doodle team!
The post on the official doodle blog identifies Mike Dutton, a doodler himself, as the actor who played Chaplin.
Google's film -- a silent short -- was filmed on location in Niles, California -- the 'setting of several of Chaplin's early classics including The Tramp'.
Image: Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday
76th Birthday of Roger Hargreaves
Charles Hargreaves' most notable creations -- Mr Men and Little Miss -- made their way into our cultural unconscious thanks to a Mr Men t-shirt that Ranbir Kapoor wore in Wake Up Sid.
The Mr Men and Little Miss series created for really young readers however has been part of western popular culture since the early '70s.
Had he been alive, Roger Hargreaves would have turned 76 on May 9 this year. Google celebrated his birthday with this doodle.
Image: 76th Birthday of Roger Hargreaves