It’s easy to get sidetracked before you even begin your Google search. Grabbing our attention on the browser’s homepage is often a digital illustration or an interactive game. These Google Doodles mark a wide array of events, celebrations, or anniversaries, usually with the word “Google” creatively interwoven into the title.

Which events will be celebrated?

Ideas for events that are worth celebrating with a Doodle are regularly brainstormed and pitched within the Google Doodle team. As it says on their web page, the team chooses “interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation.”

How are they made?

There are no end of ways a Google Doodle can be made. In general they are digital illustrations, and many require a combination of illustration skills and complex software engineering. But sometimes, the Google Doodle goes analogue.

For Julius Richard Petri’s 161st birthday — the inventor of the petri dish — the team built a makeshift lab and wrote the Google letters into six petri dishes with a dirty swab. They photographed the bacteria’s growth every twenty minutes for two weeks, and used the timelapse to reveal the word “Google’’ on the homepage.

And to mark Lotte Reiniger’s 117th birthday, a pre-Disney filmmaker who made animations by taking thousands of photos of paper-cut silhouettes, the Doodle team painstakingly created their own papercut animation.

Google Doodle also holds a competition called “Doodle for Google”, where the winner gets their Doodle featured on the Google homepage.

Which events will be celebrated?

Ideas for events that are worth celebrating with a Doodle are regularly brainstormed and pitched within the Google Doodle team. As it says on their web page, the team chooses “interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation.”

The public can also email Google with their suggestions: perhaps it’s the birthday of a famous Thai astronomer, or maybe Senegal’s Independence Day merits an honorary doodle.

Some famous Doodles that had a wide reach include Claude Debussy’s 151st birthday in 2019, celebrated with an animation of a 19th century Parisian backdrop lighting up to the music of Debussy’s classic “Clair de Lune”.

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