Google has had a cracker of a year as far as doodles are concerned. With localised doodles, animated ones and some really interactive experiences, this year's doodles have been some of the best we’ve seen come out of the Google offices.
India was also at the centre of many doodles this year with legendary musicians, scientists and festivals being Google’s inspirations. We take a look at some of the most enjoyable and touching doodles Google released over the course of this year:
Valentine’s Day 2013 and George Ferris’ 154th Birthday – February 14:
Trying to fuse two big events into one doodle is a difficult task. Fusing them into an interactive doodle is an even bigger task. However, Google did a fantastic job back in February to commemorate not just Valentine’s Day, but also George Ferris, the creator of the Ferris Wheel’s 154th birthday. The doodle acknowledged the season of love with a setting right out of a fair. There were two Ferris Wheels placed side by side and you had to click on a heart button to make them move. When the wheels stopped, two unlikely animals or birds showed up on the wheel and were promptly sent off for a date. Google would then show you what happened at the date using Polaroid shots. Example: the hare waited at a restaurant while the tortoise was late and a monkey and an elephant dancing their hearts out at a disco. Cute!
Love is in the air
Douglas Adam’s 61st Birthday – March 11:
Featuring scenes right out of Adam’s critically acclaimed books – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently – the interactive doodle was a fan’s delight. Featuring elements like a cup of tea and towel, both central to his book’s plots, the doodle played out some scenes from the books too. A tablet displaying “Don’t Panic” was placed in the doodle and hitting the glowing keypad would play out animated scenes. For instance, there are animations of how the Babel Fish enables people to understand any language, and the supercomputer Deep Thought taking 7.5 million years to calculate the answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything”, and coming up with '42'. It also featured an easter egg. Click on the door of a lift hidden in the left corner and you'll see one of Adams’ most loved creations, Marvin the Paranoid Android.
Saul Bass’ 93rd Birthday – May 8:
Google’s doodles are, at times, a window that allows you to peek into lives of artists and academicians that you don’t know much about. One such featured the artwork of acclaimed graphic designer Saul Bass, on what would have been his 93rd birthday. For those who aren’t familiar with Bass, he is the man behind some of the Western world’s most iconic logos and designs as well as Hollywood posters. The animated doodle elaborately features Bass’ works like Anatomy of a Murder and Vertigo. The doodle was set to the tune of a jazz piece, creating a magical effect few biographies can match.
Opening credits make for a great doodle
Roswell’s 66th Anniversary – July 8:
By far one of Google’s finest doodles, designers went a step beyond making animated and interactive doodles. This one featured a whole mini-game to commemorate the anniversary of the incident in Roswell, New Mexico where an airborne object, allegedly a UFO, crash landed near a ranch. As the incident fuelled rumours about extra-terrestrial visitors in the area, Google came up with an endearing point-and-click adventure with a sweet story line. The doodle involves you interacting with objects around the ranch in order to help an alien build the spaceship and go back home.
Help the alien, guys!
Google’s 15th Birthday – September 27:
Of course, Google would celebrate its own birthday in some style! This doodle too features a mini-game that you can play. It also involved scores, so you could compete with your friends at the end of the day and match your scores. It featured a piñata and showed Google’s alphabets celebrating with a birthday cake. What you needed to do was play as the alphabet “G”. You had to hit the piñata 10 times and collect as many candies as you could. The technique was a little difficult to master but ensured hours of fun and killed hours of productivity.
Hit the piñata
216th Anniversary of First Parachute Jump – October 22:
Repeat after me: Interactive Google Doodles are the best Google Doodles! To commemorate the first parachute descent that took place 216 years ago, Google released an animated parachute and let you control the flight. Very simply, you could use the left and right arrow keys to control where the parachute went, making it wade through clouds. You could either end up in the sea or on tree tops, but one thing was for sure, you always went for round two.
Halloween 2013 – October 31:
All things ghosts and urban legends made their way to Google’s fun Halloween Doodle this year. The best bit was that it featured not one, but multiple mini-games to make All Saints’ Day much more fun. Here, you played a witch with a crooked nose. Very typical! You brew potions out of any given four ingredients floating about you. Choose any two between a bone, a skull, a poisoned apple and a brew. Put these together and you’ll open up the mini-games. You can then play whack-a-mole, choose the correct coffin with a mummy inside and trail a ghost with a torch.
Hermann Rorschach’s 129th Birthday – November 8:
This doodle not only lets you have some fun but also analyses you. Interactive in another sense of the word, the doodle encouraged you to share what you saw on the typical Rorschach test on social networks. The doodle was made to commemorate Freudian Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach’s birthday who was well known for using inkblot on paper to analyse his patients. While on first glance the doodles made no sense whatsoever, a closer look revealed a butterfly, a dog and pretty much anything else your brain wanted to see. The inkblots changed every now and then and you could share what you saw with your friends on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, encouraging them to take a test too.
What do you see?
Doodle4Google 2013 India Winner – November 14:
Easily one of Google’s best designed doodles, this one came from a Pune school girl who won the annual Doodle4Google contest. The theme was “celebrating the Indian woman” and 15-year old Gayatri Ketharaman did a brilliant job of depicting it. She named her piece “Sky’s the Limit for Indian Women” and intricately designed the many roles of an Indian woman around the Google logo. The first G is represented by a classical dancer, subsequent letters show the various fields women have influenced, such as being academicians, mothers, professionals and life-givers. “It took me around a week to complete the doodle once I started working on it. But before that I spent several weeks thinking about the theme and how best I can represent the ideas I had in my mind about Indian women,” Gayathri had said when the art was unveiled. “My doodle attempts to show different qualities of Indian women.“
Doodling for Indian women
Dr. Who’s 50th Anniversary – November 23:
The ultra-popular British sci-fi TV series, Dr. Who, turned 50 this year and Google celebrated in style. The show is based around the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien called the Time Lord. The interactive doodle took you on a mini-adventure and Whovians around the world were delighted by the design. You could choose one of the eleven 2D-generated Doctors and guide them through isometric versions of the show’s environments to collect letters that would spell Google. Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels would block your path and if you died, you would be regenerated as another Dr. Who. Once you collect a letter, you had to return to TARDIS, the travelling space ship.
Head to TARDIS!
While this is not an exhaustive list, we’ve tried to put in as many impressive doodles as we could. Tell us which doodles you liked most this year in the comments section below.