Queen pops down the road to visit Google

The Queen was given a glimpse into the world behind the internet search engine Google today when she visited the organisation's offices.

The Monarch, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, was introduced to software engineers, senior managers, and a host of other staff that keep the world's most popular internet search site running.

But when the royal party were shown a You Tube clip of a baby with an infectious laugh they were reduced to giggles by the footage.

The visit was celebrated by an image of the Queen being incorporated into Google's UK homepage logo.

The "Google doodle", which changes periodically to mark national holidays or anniversaries of major events, features a profile of the monarch and a crown just for today.

Nikesh Arora, president of Google Europe, Middle East and Africa, who took the Monarch around his company's UK headquarters in Victoria, London, said: "She did seem very very interested in everything going on.

"She has used You Tube and has her own Royal Channel and understands what our products are about."

The Queen is perhaps Britain's most famous internet user. She has embraced technology and is said to email her grandchildren.

But Philip is thought to be the real fan of computers and the internet, using them regularly.

The royal couple were treated to a demonstration of Google's search capabilities that have become a staple tool for millions of web users just 10 years after the organisation was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in California.

Before the presentation began, the Duke chatted to Matthew Trewhella, a developer advocate who promotes his organisation's products to companies.

Philip asked the Google worker, who was dressed casually in a hooded top, chinos and trainers like many of his colleagues: "Just come back from jogging?"

The royal couple were shown searches made for a number of topics, from their nearby London residence Buckingham Palace, Royal Corgis - a favourite of the Queen - and one of the capital's most famous landmarks, Big Ben.

During the tour the Queen was shown a series of demonstrations explaining Google's various operations from Google Earth, where users can access detailed maps and satellite images of the planet, to a mobile phone using the search engine's technology.

But when the Duke asked staff to find their own offices in Buckingham Palace Road, the site but not the building, which has been constructed in recent years, could be seen on Google Earth.

The royal party later chatted to 16 schoolchildren, all winners in a competition to design new doodles for Google.