Google Doodles: From ‘Doctor Who’ To Women’s Suffrage And Everywhere In Between

What do the Google doodle and LIFE cereal have in common? (Hint: It’s not about good taste.)

Everyone of a certain age knows from the long-running commercial that Mikey won’t eat LIFE cereal, because he hates everything. Much to everyone’s surprise, Mikey loves LIFE cereal, even though it’s good for him.

Many people click on the doodle when they log into Google for the day because it’s interesting to find out what it’s all about. Few people would look up that same topic if it were listed at the top of the page, but education with a touch of art and fun tastes great.

The Google doodle didn’t actually start out as an educational tool or any sort of informational beacon or banner. According to the Official Blog, “The first doodle was produced by (who else?) Larry and Sergey, who, when they attended the Burning Man festival in summer 1998, put a little stick figure on the home page logo in case the site crashed and someone wanted to know why nobody was answering the phone.”

The first Google doodle - a server crash alert
That first doodle launched a series of, so far, over 2,000 Google Doodles on Google’s home pages across the globes.

What makes something worthy of a doodle? As might be expected, Google has an answer for that question on the Doodles Archive page: “A group of Googlers get together regularly to brainstorm and decide which events will be celebrated with a doodle. The ideas for the doodles come from numerous sources including Googlers and Google users. The doodle selection process aims to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation.”

Google’s first official doodler, Dennis Hwang, created this Google doodle for Bastille Day in 2000.

Google doodle Bastille Day, 2000
On January 11, 2016, Google published a doodle of particular significance in the United States given the current Presidential race.

Google doodle, January 11, 2016, celebrating suffragist Alice Paul's birthday
While many people don’t recognize the face of Alice Paul, who was born 133 years ago, every person in the country was affected deeply by her commitment to the women’s suffrage movement.

With Hillary Clinton widely seen as a shoe-in for the Democratic Presidential nomination and likely for the office of President of the United States, Alice Paul’s commemorative doodle offers an interesting look at the history of women in the political process and the struggle to make Hillary Rodham Clinton’s achievements possible.

Many of the search engine’s doodles recognize cultural events and individuals, but not all doodles from Google are not all about education and information. The doodlers and their team of suggestion makers have a keen sense of fun, as evidenced by this game doodle commemorating the 50th anniversary of the iconic BBC television series, Doctor Who.

Like LIFE cereal, mentioned earlier, Google doodles aren’t just delicious and good for you. Just as those LIFE commercials sold truckloads of cereal to finicky kids and their health-conscious moms, the doodles send loads of traffic to related sites.

The Google doodle on January 19, 2011 celebrated artist Paul Cezanne's birthday
Each Google doodle links to the search results for the doodle’s topic. On January 19, 2011, when the doodle recognized artist Paul Cezanne on his 132nd birthday, at least a million people clicked through to find out more. According to The Next Web News, “the website Art in the Picture received 2.5 visits per second, every second of the day that the doodle was live. In total, 220,116 unique visits to the site, more than it receives in an entire month, normally. In one day, the site received 33 years’ worth of normal natural search traffic.” Further, The Next Web reports, the Wikipedia page for Paul Cezanne received over 1,000,000 visitors immediately after the doodle went live.

As with any company, not everything Google does is a huge success, but this would appear to be one of their hits.

What’s the last Google doodle you clicked on?

[Image via Google]