Google Doodles were born way back in 1998, when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin fiddled with the corporate logo to mark their attendance at the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert. The logo was designed with a stick-figure drawing which indicated to Google users that the founders were away from office.
Thus, the idea of celebrating notable events with decorated Google logos took birth.
Subsequent Google doodles were designed by an outside contractor, until Larry and Sergey asked then-intern Dennis Hwang to design a logo for Bastille Day in 2000. Over time, the overwhelming response from Google users gave way to the first playable logo - one that marked the thirtieth birthday of the hugely popular video game character, Pac-Man. The logo represents an accurate reproduction of the Pac-Man game that is playable in a browser window (contains 255 levels).
On Sunday, July 11, 2010, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final was commemorated by a Google doodle revealing the stadium where the match was to be held. Clicking on a Google doodle connects to a chain of Google search results about the topic, which can deliver heavy traffic to unsuspecting sites.
Google doodles have celebrated many birthdays of renowned artists and scientists, including Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Jackson, H.G. Wells, Mahatma Gandhi and Freddie Mercury, among others.
Incidentally, the featuring of Lowell's logo design clashed with the launch of another Google product - Google Maps.
Google doodles also represent major events at Google, such as the company's own anniversary.
The anniversary of H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" has also been celebrated. On February 14, 2007, Valentine's Day, the Google doodle featured a chocolate-dipped strawberry that combined the second "g" and the "l" as its green stem.
This design gave the appearance that the "l" was missing, thereby displaying "Googe". In response to several speculations, the official Google Blog responded, saying the letter had been omitted to give a special poetic feel to the drawing.
In 2007, Google faced criticism for not featuring versions of the Google logo for American patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day.Quite promptly, Google featured a logo commemorating Veterans Day.
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, Google unveiled one of its most interactive doodles... in honor of science-fiction novelist Jules Verne's 183rd birthday.Pulling on a lever enabled users to get a Nautilus submarine's undersea view, depicting everything from divers to treasure to sea creatures, including a coral formation in the shape of the logo.
On December 24, 2010, Google launched the first Christmas holiday logo. The logo was a combination of 17 images, with each image referring to a cuisine, an instrument or a place... such as Nepal. It contained 17 frames with each frame depicting something different which maximized when the user hovered on any image.
On April 29, 2011, the Google search page featured a logo in honor of the royal wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton.
So far, the doodle team has created over 300 doodles for Google.com in the United States and over 700 have been designed internationally.
Besides, Google holds a Doodle4Google competition every year for students in grades K-12 to create their own Google doodle. The winning doodles get listed on the Doodle4Google Web site, where the public can vote for the winner.
The winner gets a trip to the Googleplex and the right to host the winning doodle, for 24 hours, on the Google Web site. The competition originated in the UK and now has extended to the United States.
The competition was also held in Ireland in 2008 and later in India in 2009. The winning doodle was displayed on the Google India homepage on Children's Day - November 14.
A similar competition held in Singapore was based on the theme "Our Singapore" and was launched in January 2010. The winning entry was chosen from over 30,000 entries. The winning design will be shown on Singapore's National Day on Google Singapore's homepage.
Watch this cool video on the Doodle 4 Google 2011 event: