The History of the Google Doodle

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The humble Google Doodle has become synonymous with Google as a company and a brand. It often feels like a Doodle is being displayed more than the actual traditional Google logo nowadays, but there is always a reason behind the unique designs that appear on Google’s homepage. The Doodle is used to celebrate and commemorate historical and memorable events throughout history – some with a complete over hall, or sometimes just a mere tweak to Google’s logo being made.

But where did the Google Doodle come from? Get ready for a history lesson on the important stuff. The War of the Roses was nothing on this… (we kid). Not sure you know what a Google Doodle is? Check out some of the best Google Doodles from 2017.

What was the first Google Doodle and was it released?

The first Google Doodle appeared on Google’s front page on August 30th 1998. It was used as an out of office marker by the search engines creators Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, as the pair were preparing for Google to be officially incorporated as a company, but were off on a trip to the Burning Man festival beforehand in Nevada, USA.

First Ever Google Doodle


To show that the pair were going to be holidaying and not working at Google, they wanted to leave an  out of office signal on the site to let users know they weren’t there. So, they decided to add a stickman on fire (the Burning Man logo) behind the second ‘o’. A smart little way to notify Google users of the founders being out of office, but little did they know it would start a long line of traditions that is continuing some two decades later

Who makes Google Doodles?

While the founders of Google designed the first Google Doodle, it was an intern who began designing them much later. In 2000, Page and Brin tasked intern Dennis Hwang with designing a Doodle to celebrate Bastille Day. Due to the reception, Hwang was inadvertently made Chief Doodler (now he’s the company’s Webmaster), and a tradition that started as an informal Out of Office has turned into a trademark of Google’s brand.

Today, there is a dedicated department to making Google Doodles. Where as before they were simply an illustration that had modifications, Doodles have turned into an entirely different beast. Now, teams or engineers and illustrators work in tandem to create masterpieces of live art and games to celebrate an entire host of occasions, dates and events around the world. The team of Doodlers are known for coming up with out of the box ideas, with events such as Mother’s Day, to Ice Cream Sundae Day – they have no limitations.

Think you have an idea for a Google Doodle, you can even contact the team with an idea –

History of Google Doodle
Google Doodle


January 2010 marked the first animated Google Doodle – in celebration of Sir Isaac Newton. From then onwards, Google continued to experiment and exceed expectations with its out of the box ideas. Google Doodle’s have now come to attract a range of guest designers including artists, musicians and personalities.

Google have made a huge range of Google Doodles over the years, with over 2,000 in their catalogue. Check out what we think are the best Google Doodles of all time.

Google Doodle Controversies

The history of the Google Doodle hasn’t gone by without any criticism either. The first of these happened in in 2013 when Google was celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, which was also the first day of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. It was claimed that Roald Dahl was anti-semitic, and Google was heavily criticised for this move. The Doodle was quickly removed and an apology statement issued.

Google Doodle History


Google also regularly updates it’s Google Doodles during major global event, such as the 2018 Winter Olympics. Check out the best Doodles from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

While we don’t design Google Doodles, here at Ricemedia we can assist with everything Google, from your SEO strategy, to managing your PPC account. Contact the team today to see how we can help with your digital marketing.

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