Google Doodle Mystery: The Clues

September 7th, 2010 by Rob Brown
Today Google unveiled a new Doodle (that’s what they call the celebratory graphic logo you sometimes see on the homepage).  It is an animated set of interactive balls/circles that explode and return to form the Google letters.  This one is different from any previous ‘Doodle’ in some keys ways:

– It is interactive so you can play with it.

– There is no explanation as to what it celebrates (you can normally hover over the Doodle and click-through)

The lack of explanation is clearly deliberate as there is nothing on the Google logos page where explanations of the Doodles are normally posted. If is is a publicity stunt it’s working pretty well as the wires are alive with speculation.  Here are a few clues that may help solve the mystery.

  1. It appears on and Google Germany but not or other Googles around the world
  2. There is a hidden version but its not on the main site….yet 
  3. It is different in different browsers (the balls are much larger in Chrome than in IE)
  4. Google celebrates its birthday on different days but one is September 7th
  5. September 7th is also the day the first TV camera tube picture was transmitted
  6. Google is holding a press conference at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) tomorrow (September 8th)

My best guess is that the European sites are being used as a teaser and will go live with the Doodle today or tomorrow.  The Doodle looks like modern interactive art, maybe it has even been designed by someone like Damien Hirst, so there is a link with the venue.  In short it’s a PR stunt for Google’s big announcement…I think.

Update 12.09pm

I think the difference between the Chrome and Internet Explorer versions is important.  The Chrome version is superior.  There is much debate on line about the code and the versions are written quite differently for the different browsers.   My hunch is that the press event will point up innovations with Chrome and we will see a new front open up on the Flash vs HTML5 battle. 

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).

16 Responses to “Google Doodle Mystery: The Clues”

  1. Jordon Handley Says:

    I think it’s lovely and I’ve been gazing at it all morning, sort of like a virtual pocket-billiards.
    Jordon H.

  2. Ben Says:

    its their 12th Birthday today!

  3. Josh Says:

    It’s Google’s birthday.

    Linkbait over.

  4. Rob Brown Says:


    Google seems to celebrate its birthday on different days. Last year it was the 27th September and the actual anniversary of incorporation is the 4th. Their explanation is that they celebrate on the day that they want cake in the office. If it’s for their birthday why isn’t it on I think the fat lady is still warming up.

  5. Barry Snaith Says:

    I hate Google, they’re all Corporation-ry and stuff.

  6. GOOGLE DOODLE « Parròquia de Sant Gay Cat Says:

    […] Google Doodle Mystery: The Clues ( […]

  7. Steve Williams Says:

    Great article. I assume it is their birthday with my post at

    We may find it is not that simple and they have other ideas involving Particle Movement!

  8. Ben Says:

    Rob I agree, the fat lady is still yet to sing her little heart out..

    Barry pointless comment!

  9. Veronica Says:

    There was another interactive doodle on Sep 04, 2010 25th – Anniversary of Buckyball – (Global)
    You can see it here

  10. Dom Harlow Says:

    Is it about John Dalton – Colour blindness and atomic theory, amongst others? Look at the shades of the balls – all subtly different. Dalton’s birthday was on or around 7th September (1766)

  11. Sarah Says:

    I really like it too, but cannot believe its been twelve years since Google began in a little garage in California – crazy. Great article!
    article submission uk

  12. Steve Swift Says:

    I’ve been trying to trap one of the balls at the bottom of my screen. Sort of like “shedding” in sheep dog trials. I’m no better at this than my border collies are at herding sheep (they run away from sheep; too much like work).

  13. Telecoda Says:

    The Media Arts festival starts tomorrow in London and Google have been there before?

    Google TV launch?

    Or just another befuddling logo to taunt us and consume our CPU cycles?

  14. ergb25 Says:

    check that..

  15. Jordon Handley Says:

    I’m still playing with my balls. It’s mesmerising.

  16. Rob Brown Says:

    Well the fat lady sang and what a PR stunt it turned out to be. I never bought the birthday stuff – sorry Josh.

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