Google Doodles: A Brief History

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Oh, Google.

You’ve managed to turn your very name into a verb. That’s no small feat. I’ve never heard anyone say they should ‘Bing’ something. Companies like you and Facebook (which turned ‘friend’ into a verb) are literally revolutionizing the English language.

And you’re just so much fun to look at!

Google Doodles

As just about everybody who has ever been on the Internet knows, Google decorates its homepage. We are treated to a new variation on the word Google daily as the company doodles over its own name, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous individuals. It’s creative, charming, and something else beginning with a ‘c’ to complete the pattern—cool. But how did this idea come about?

To find the answer, we will have to travel back in time (translation: use the Internet). We are going all the way back to the ancient days of 1998.

A History

Google had not yet been incorporated. The Internet was a dark and dangerous place. T-rexes roamed the wild cyberspace. And the Burning Man festival, a spiritual and community-building event, occurred in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Google founders Larry and Sergey were in attendance.

It was this festival that inspired them to create the stick figure behind the second ‘o’ in the below picture as a comedic nod to users indicating that they were out of office.

The first doodle was born.

Google first doodle

Two years and a millennium went by, which is my fancy way of saying that we are now visiting the year 2000, unless the world actually did end in 1999 and no one told me. Dennis Hwang, current webmaster, was an intern at the time. Larry and Sergey asked him to design a doodle for Bastille Day.

Google fireworks doodle

The design, with its call of “liberty, equality, fraternity” became so popular with Google’s users that Hwang was promoted to the chief doodler, which sounds a position parents appoint their toddler to when they want twenty minutes of quiet time, but is actually far cooler than that. The doodles celebrated Birthdays at first but now span a variety of events, including a celebration of the ice cream sundae.

Anniversary of the ice cream sundae

Mmm. That looks yummy.

Some Famous Doodles

Google has done over 2,000 doodles for their homepages worldwide. Other famous Google doodles include:

A doodle honoring Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss' 105th birthday

And a doodle celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Lego.

50th anniversary of the lego brick

And, as of late, Google doodles have been advertisements for the World Cup (because we all know it needs the advertising).

You Can Doodle Too!

These doodles are not solely the work of Google’s doodle team (their illustrators, who work with engineers to design the doodles, are called doodlers). You too can submit ideas for doodles by emailing

Happy doodling!