The ten most iconic Google doodles

The Google search page is famous for its stark simplicity, but every now and then the web giant trades that in for bright, colourful and (sometimes) even playable doodles.

Google’s custom logos, otherwise known as “doodles”, have exploded in popularity since their introduction in 1998. As connection speeds have progressed so has their level of complexity, and with doodles now designed to cover all manner of occasions, Google has found a way to highlight people and events that might otherwise have passed by unnoticed.

For example, this week marked what would have been guitarist Les Paul’s 96th birthday, and he was honoured in spectacular fashion – as you’ll see below.

Over the past 13 years, the team at Google has crafted 700 doodles, and it has created an archive of these educational, imaginative and occasionally interactive creations. Here are the ten most iconic doodles so far.

The Burning Man Festival

Google introduced the “doodle” concept in August 1998, when the traditional logo was tweaked to advertise Burning Man, an annual festival in the Nevada desert, coinciding with the team’s attendance of the event.

Google Burning Man


Christened Buckyball, this animated logo arrived on 4 September 2010 to mark the 25th anniversary of an important scientific breakthrough, the discovery of a spherical molecule dubbed Buckminsterfullerene.

Mousing over the logo caused the sphere to spin in place, either clockwise or anti-clockwise, depending on the mouse position – click here to see the Buckyball in action.

Google Buckyball


The first fully interactive doodle materialised on 21 May last year, with a customised, playable version of the popular 1980s arcade classic Pac-Man.

Honouring the game’s 30th anniversary, and coded almost entirely in JavaScript, it was played for more than five million man hours before being replaced.

Even then, it proved to be exceedingly popular, and Google kept it online.

Google Pac-Mac

Christmas 2010

Following the explosion in popularity of its doodles, Google’s efforts doubled in grandeur, as the collective work of six artists came to a head for Christmas 2010.

Entirely void of the word ‘Google’, this design featured 17 different images, representing the varying Christmas traditions across the world.

Each individual image could be enlarged by hovering the mouse over it, while a mouse-click opened a Google search of the appropriate holiday destination.

Google Christmas

Jules Verne Submarine

This underwater doodle emerged on the 8 February this year, to commemorate the 183rd birthday of Jules Verne – the well-known science fiction author, who wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

Replicating a submarine, visitors to the search engine could use a four-directional lever to navigate the seabed, whereas iPad and iPhone users could tilt their devices to achieve the same effect.

Google Jules Verne

Thomas Edison

A handful of Thomas Edison’s creations shape the word ‘Google’ in this particular doodle, paying tribute to the great inventor on his 164th birthday.

Edison was responsible for an abundance of designs, from the light bulb to the electric typewriter, and the face of technology would be very different without his contribution.

Google Edison

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