Google Logo History: The World’s Greatest Icon Sheds Its Skin

The Google search engine controls most of our lives. If we are in the IT industry, then we work to make our products compatible with Google. If we are a celebrity, we search Google images to see if the resulting images feature our “best side.” If we are an entrepreneur, we crave SEO solutions which revolves around “getting ranked on Google.” How many of us, as if by instinct, load up our favorite browser, then religiously type “G-O-O-G-L-E” into the URL bar? Did you know that Google, and its headquarters Googleplex, are name plays on the number googolplex, which is a one followed by 10 to the 100th power zeros?

Google is even more a part of our lives than Facebook, I suspect, and that is because Google has defined the way we access information. Research in all forms can bear fruit on Google with its advanced search engine which beats any and all library intranets. The fact is that Google — and its familiar logo — are a part of our permanent psyche.

But Google, like all things with longevity, adapts and changes. This history of Google’s logo is not so much to do with the basic design — this has remained virtually unchanged for 16 years — but rather with the creative ways they have adapted their logo to keep up with current events and trends, i.e. “Google Doodles.” Here are five of the famous Google Doodles which celebrate innovation in human history.

30th Anniversary of Pac Man — This doodle was playable and allowed users to relive their best moments playing this iconic game. Bandai Namco has made its entire business due to the continued popularity of this simple but engaging computer game.

“Pac-Man, not surprisingly, is hands down the biggest product in the catalog of publisher Bandai Namco. It’s so big, in fact, that the sole reason the company formed and launched its mobile division was to get the game onto cell phones and other handheld devices.”

LES PAUL’S 96th BIRTHDAY — Les Paul (1915-2009) was an innovator and experimenter, especially on the electric guitar. As early as 1941 Les Paul built his own electric guitar and made innovations throughout the next decade that were adopted into the sounds of no other than the Beatles. In fact, George Harrison, guitarist for the Beatles, played a Les Paul which was given to him by Eric Clapton in 1957. Elvis Presley owned a collection of Les Paul guitars and Bob Marley used the guitar to create his signature sound.

VINCENT VAN GOGH’S 152nd BIRTHDAY — The man who famously cut off his ear and sent it to his lover…his unique art is highly sought after, though during his lifetime, he was so unrecognised that he only sold one painting in his entire life. But time has been friendly to this genius of emotional projection.

“It appears that the intense interest that today’s society has for Van Gogh lies not in the quality of his paintings, but in his ability to project his turbulent emotional experience onto the canvas.”

JOHN LENNON’S 70th BIRTHDAY — John Lenin was an enigmatic figure. As the lead singer of the Beatles, he was a man of peace and love. Mark Chapman, a mentally ill fantasist and John Lennon obsessionist, murdered Lennon.

“On Monday 8th December 1980, Chapman shot Lennon four times in the back, in front of his wife, on the steps to the building’s main entrance. By 11.15 pm Lennon had died of exsanguination, en route to the Roosevelt Hospital.”

GOOGLE’S 15th BIRTHDAY — What an occasion for a company with a reputation for giving its employees the opportunity to have fun and work…where else can you transverse floors with a Fireman Pole between floors? What does Google have to celebrate? Besides being the world’s largest search engine, with 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide, Google has interests in artificial intelligence which can outperform humans, self-driving cars (which are safer than humans driving), and Google Glass, which augments reality by matching faces and environment with meta information, i.e. all available public information on the Internet.

Thank you for all the memories, Google, and for recognizing some of the greatest achievements by all the people who made great changes in history due to their commitment to innovation and undying devotion to their cause. Your new logo can be nothing less than befits your lasting legacy.

[Image by Adam Berry/Getty Images]

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