We have grown used to seeing the charming, educational and always quirky alternative representations of the Google logo. They commemorate holidays, key historic people, events and or dates in a creative and often times interactive manner. Google, now Under the Alphabet umbrella brand, makes and publishes these modified versions which include a link to a relevant Google search. This practice began in 1998, as a fun experiment, and was standardized by early 2000’s beginning with a series of doodles honoring iconic historical figures such as: Picasso, Monet, Albert Einstein, etc.
Although these “Doodles” as they are popularly and officially called, are mainly received with a positive response, they encourage the public to research sometimes very obscure subjects, the company has received its fair amount of heat over the 16 years that they have been producing this pet project. Most notably, they have received criticism from conservative sectors of the internet over not being patriotic enough. This comes as no surprise given that information technology Behemoth is seen by many as liberal symbol given the causes it champions and its prideful approach to progressive thinking.
Next, we take a look behind some of the most polarizing doodles amongst its 140 archive.
Sputnik: 50th Anniversary (2007)
This version featured the Russian Satellite in place of the “O” was first released to commemorate its 50th anniversary it received a lot of backslash from the conservative community because not only did Google honor an achievement by a totalitarian regime that was “our Cold War enemy”, but it did so without having ever altered its logo to commemorate U.S. military personnel on Memorial Day or Veterans Day. Many of the controversial doodles have to do with ignoring holidays that certain sectors consider more relevant, the company has established a pattern of reminding its critics that their doodle are light-hearted and aim to be scientific in nature, however this hasn’t stopped complaints coming their way.
HoninboShusaku’s 185th Birthday(2014)
Thursday the 5th of June in 2014 Google publish their doodle honoring HoninboShusaku’s anniversary of death. He was considered the best Go player of the golden age of the sport. However this was met with negative remarks given that it coincided with commemoration of D-Day. The company would later on admit that this particular doodle had been published unintentionally due to a technical error. By the next day the doodle was replaced with another honoring the historic event.
95th Anniversary Yuri Kochiyama (2016)
As you can find on Google’s official website, Kochiyama wanted to leave a legacy that expressed advocacy for many things, mostly related to a strong anti-war sentiment, including themes of peace, disarming nuclear weapons, freeing political prisoners, and some sort of reparation for all the people interned during the war that were of Japanese-American origin.
However, Kochiyama was a highly controversial individual herself unafraid of affiliation with far-leftist and even terrorist organizations and who sometimes expressed unpopular, even shocking political support for their causes. Later on, she even expressed a favorable opinion of Osama bin Laden. This had many in uproar due to her being perceived as an unpatriotic figure.