Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Doodle Story

The New Delhi Fog in its usual splendor did one good to me this time. Waiting for my delayed flight, I was forced to explore a little more than usual, and to my pleasant surprise found a good bookstore at the Bangalore (oops..... I better start preparing in advance), the benagaluru airport. So I finally picked up “The Google Story”, since “The Search” was costlier. But it turned out of all the confusion created by so many books on Google, the financial criteria did chance me upon exactly the right kind of account of the company I was looking for.

The crux of this blog is….’Pick up your copy today’.

So I picked up a part of the story to share with you, a part which is one of the most fascinating of them all. All of us must have more than once observed the surprising changes on the Google homepage, to the only object that is loaded besides simple text. This object is of course the Google Logo, which has evolved, refined and yet maintained its simplicity over the years. Some trivia I picked up from the book, and then by subsequent googling about Google.

Before Google, the founders termed the engine “Backrub”, based on the technology of analyzing back links to a site. And guess what the logo was then?? It was a scan of the palm of Larry Page, the “PageRank” guy. What followed with the new name was the precursor to the now omnipresent "Primary Colors" Google logo, which was an outcome of Page’s efforts to learn to use GIMP, which is the open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop. And the current logo evolved after many refinements and feedbacks and suggestions from the users.

The GIMP creation

The first 'Doodle', or Holiday Logo of google

With the Simplicity of Google Homepage, it is inevitable that even the smallest of the changes on the page fail to go unnoticed. So a decoration to the Logo would definitely amount to a big statement of change. So when in the infancy of the company, the guys decided to depart for “The Burning Man” festival, they wanted to somehow communicate to the then user’s of Google that if something goes wrong or we don’t respond to your queries during this week, its cos we are at the burning man. The answer lay in what became the first Google doodle. That’s what is officially called. The concept caught on, and then one thing led to another, and they started marking all small and big events of importance, within and beyond America’s by adding a bit of that event in the Google logo in a simple yet extremely creative fashion. To all Indians’ dismay, a doodle which was already designed and ready to be put up for the Diwali festival was pulled of during the last minutes cos they found out that it was a Hindu festival, and they wanted to keep away from any controversial religious sentiments.

What is most inspiring is the confidence with which these guys managed to incorporate the freshness and the youthfulness of almost a college culture into a company which would eventually go on to break all standards and benchmarks culturally, financially, technologically and otherwise. The doodle’s is just one example where they followed their hearts way, where others would have thought it to be a stupid idea. It’s an inspiration for most wannabe entrepreneurs, who are always discouraged by peers and the environment as such, even before they actually venture out to do something significant. For all of those kind, this book is a MUST READ if u haven’t done it already.