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Google's doodles set to get more interactive

Last updated on: April 18, 2011 15:22 IST

Google's doodles set to get more interactive

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Shivani Shinde in Mumbai

Even for a generation which sources most of its history from Google, it comes as a surprise that the American company is commemorating artistes and events in the most innovative way.

Google's doodle has been famous for recreating the search giant's logo to mark an important event or artiste.

It broke its own record of creating an interactive doodle to mark Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday, recently, by creating a short silent-film gracing the Google logo on its home page.

Doodles are Google's logo variations that appear on the search engine's home page.

They generally commemorate important events, artistes, historical event and anniversaries.

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Image: Google created an interactive doodle of Charlie Chaplin.

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Google's doodles set to get more interactive

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The YouTube video starring members of the Google Doodle team is perhaps the last silent movie on Chaplin.

This is the second time that the Doodle team has made the firm's logo interactive. And the buzz within is that the logo might get more interactive.

The idea to have an interactive doodle on Chaplin came from Ryan Germick, the Doodle team's creative head.

"We are making use of technology in a more interactive way. That's the way we will evolve the Google logo as well," says Nikhil Rungta, country marketing head, Google India.

The first time it went interactive was when it commemorated the popular game Pac-Man.

On May 21, 2010 Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of arcade game Pac-Man in association with Namco.

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Image: First interactive doodle was Pac-Man

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Everyone visiting Google could play Pac-Man on the logo, which featured the letters of the word 'Google' on the Pac-Man maze.

The logo also mimicked the sounds of the original arcade game.

The "I'm Feeling Lucky" button was replaced with an "Insert Coin" button. Pressing this once enabled the user to play the Pac-Man logo.

This was followed by a visual treat for artiste and singer John Lennon on his 70th birthday last year.

Google is the only brand globally, that allows its logo to be played around with. For the company it is to show users its fun side.

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Image: Googel celebrated John Lennon's birthday.

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"This also helps us connect to our users better. We've been doing exciting doodles simply because we want to have fun, more often with our pages and doodles are one way we could achieve that while giving our users something enjoyable when they come to our homepage. It is difficult to measure how its has helped Google but it allows users to be part of its community," says Rungta.

In India, the search giant took everyone by surprise when it paid homage to India's first talkie, Alam Ara through a doodle.

The doodle of Alam Ara that commemorated 80 years of the first Indian talkie, was the result of a meeting held in December last year.


Image: Google paid homage to Alam Ara.

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"The Alam Ara doodle also came out of one such meeting. The Indian marketing team was brain storming on which events from India can be doodled.

"We were trying to find out if someone has completed 100 years or if any event from Bollywood can be doodled. And one of us just came up with Alam Ara. The first Indian talkie completed its 80 years," he says.

Creating the visual for Alam Ara was a tad difficult. As the last existing prints of the movie was destroyed in a fire in Pune's National Film Archives in 2003.

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Image: Nikhil Rungta says Google is making technology more interactive.

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Google's doodles set to get more interactive

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"We did a Google search for Alam Ara. Of the few images that we came across one of the images was sent to the US team around which the doodle was created," says Rungta.

Rungta was surprised with the feedback he received on the Alam Ara doodle.

The buzz that was created on social networking sites made Google come closer to its users.

"Our idea was to commemorate Alam Ara as it was one of the important artistic milestones."

This seemingly fun exercise has a serious thought process behind it.
Rungta says every quarter regional teams review events or personalities that can be doodled.

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Image: Google celebrated Holi with doodle.

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Every doodle needs to be okayed by designers in Mountainview, Google's headquarters.

The doodle designers team is led by Dennis Hwang.

"Everything and anything cannot be a doodle. Every country team recommends ideas to the global team. Then the Mountainview team comes back and tells us if this fits in our policy. They need to look at every doodle concept from importance and relevance. Also the idea is not to hurt anyone's religious sentiments," said Rungta.

Since the launch of the Google India page, 15-20 India centric doodle's have been created. But interestingly, the first doodle related to India was created even before the Google India page was launched.

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Image: Googel marked the Bastille Day.

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"In 2001, we had a doodle for Holi. Google has several Indian Googlers, perhaps one of them would have come up with this idea."

Doodle was started by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. Both Page and Brin were to attend the 'Burning Man Festival' and wanted to notify users that they would not be in office.

A stick figure drawing was placed behind the second "o" in the word. The response the first doodle received made Page and Brin make it a permanent feature.

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Image: Doodle was started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998.

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The first doodle was designed by Page and Brin. A year later in 2000, Page and Brin asked the present webmaster Dennis Hwang, an intern at the time, to produce a doodle for Bastille Day.

Pleased with the result, Dennis was appointed Google's chief doodler. The doodle team has created over 300 doodles for Google.com in the US and over 700 have been designed internationally. Though Google does allow users to share ideas for doodle, majority of doodles have been created by in-house designers.

A few years ago, to connect with children across the globe the search giant started Doodle4Google.

It is an initiative that allows children to create doodles around a theme and they are then used during children's day.

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Image: Team has created 700 doodles internationally.

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In India Doodle4Google was started two years back. In 2009, it received participation from 4,500 children. In 2010, the number went up to 100,000. Doodle4Google competition is hosted in 15 countries across the globe.

Rungta says the Google logo might just get more interactive.

Google seems to have an amazing memory of all things innovative - be it first high pressured steam engine or the 50th anniversary of first human space flight or the 119th anniversary of the first documented ice cream sundae.


Image: Doodle4Google is hosted in 15 countries across the globe.

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