Google doodles a playful mix of art and technology

A tribute to legendary Queen front man Freddie Mercury took center stage at Google in much of the world on Monday in the latest "doodle" merging technology and art to show the Internet giant's human side.

An animated video crafted into the logo on Google's search page to honor what would have been the late rock legend's 65th birthday marked the latest step in the evolution of doodles that started as rudimentary clip art.

Google users woke to Mercury everywhere but in the United States, where a Labor Day holiday prompted the doodle to be bumped to Tuesday.

"It has a lot of fun, goofy stuff to celebrate what an incredible song writer, fashion icon, and musical innovator he was," doodle team creative lead Ryan Germick told AFP during a visit to their base at Google's headquarters in the California city of Mountain View.

"Freddy Mercury was an awesome performer, an ambitious creator and pioneered really audacious concept records," Germick said. "We just love him; we've been blasting Queen for the last couple of months and it is always joyful."

The first doodle was posted atop the logo at Google's famously uncluttered search page by company co-founders Larry Page and Serge Brin in 1998 when Google was just getting off the ground.

It was essentially an "Out of Office" note in the form of a Burning Man image from a gathering that Brin and Page were heading to in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

Brin and Page posted the art to basically tell users "If the servers melt down we will be back in a couple of days - we're out in the desert," according to Germick.

The notion of a doodle flourished on a Google campus rich with creativity and engineering brilliance. Before long, a couple of "Googlers" eclipsed doodle clip art with beautiful illustrations.

"It is a way to humanize the website," Germick said. "This is an opportunity to express to users that we are here, we are people, and we like the things you like."

After Germick joined the team it began tapping into new Internet technology to add interactivity. A doodle that was a playable Pac-Man videogame was such a hit that it was given its own Web page.

Google software engineer Kristopher Hom was enlisted to bring doodles to life.

Along with Pac-Man, Hom helped create a Jules Verne animation that let people captain an animated submarine based on one of the French author's famous novels, and a playable virtual guitar tribute to Les Paul.

"The audio samples were recorded on a Les Paul guitar, and we chose notes that made it easy to play something good," Hom said.

"People were sharing songs and remixing them on YouTube," he said. "It was amazing how everyone had a little ownership of that doodle."

Custom-made video clips hosted at Google-owned YouTube have been incorporated in doodles including tributes to Mercury, the late Beatle John Lennon and acting legends Lucille Ball and Charlie Chaplin.

"For me, a doodle is an opportunity to make someone happy for 10 seconds," Hom said. "Someone starts the day learning about a person they didn't know, or gets to see what is possible on the Web in the browser today."

A doodle for sculptor Alexander Calder was a 3-D graphic of one of his trademark works of art that Google users could "move" with cursor strokes.

Controls for the Verne submarine were synched to "accelerometer" capabilities in new-generation laptops so people could navigate by tilting computers.

The doodle team is keen to begin incorporating social components in doodles as technology allows.

"We can draw a scene with code, which gives us a lot of opportunities to make the home page a little different for you or let you play with a friend," Hom said. "Social is definitely an area we are very excited about."

Ideas for doodles spring from sources ranging from suggestions by Google users to personal passions of Germick's team.

"We have a gigantic laundry list of people who have inspired us and things we are excited about celebrating," Germick said.

"I think the DNA of Google having fun is what birthed us," he said. "Besides the free food, another tremendous perk of being inside of Google is that fun, at the very top of the company, is a value."

Germick describes his team as a handful of artists with thousands of engineers at their disposal.

"We are in the middle between geeks and artists," Germick said. "When we are able to use our logo and infuse technology with art really magical things have happened."

While doodles last only a day at search pages, they have a permanent home online at google.com/logos.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Website Editor

    £15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments