Dear Google: I Expected Better
In addition to being the de-facto search engine, Google clearly enjoys being clever and giving visitors a little extra when they visit.
One way they do this is the “Google Doodle” that changes almost every day, reflecting various holidays, events and happenings. In many cases, the Google Doodle is different depending on the country where you are located when you are performing your search.
Another is in their use of “easter eggs” – hidden little functions or responses that you have to hunt for, and may be surprised when you find.
Go to Google.com and type “tilt” into the search bar and the screen… tilts.
Type “do a barrel roll” and it will.
Type “where is Chuck Norris” and… well, I’ll let you see how that one works for yourself.
Delve further into the land of geekyness and there are interesting responses for phrases like “answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything”, “ascii art”, “recursion”, “anagram” and “about: internets”.
Two new(ish) easter eggs came to light last week. Type “let it snow” and after a minute your screen will begin to fill with little round flakes. Wait longer and it will fog up, allowing you to “draw” with your mouse as you would on a foggy window pane.
The other is: “Hanukkah”. Primed as I was by the highly interactive “let it snow”, I was expecting something pretty clever – glowing candles, frying latkes, even a spinning dreidle. Sure those are all cliché’s but it’s a Google easter egg for pete’s sake. I’m not expecting a Star Wars style scrolling narrative that tells the history of the Maccabees against a backdrop of a Roman Imperial phalanx throwing spears at a beleaguered Jewish platoon.
(On second thought, that would be really really cool…)
What you get, however, is … a border of stars and dreidles.
My first reaction was “That’s it?!? That’s the best that the great minds in the GooglePlex have to offer? I already came to terms with the fact that there’s no Google Doodle for Hanukkah. But now I have to live down this cheesy second rate non-animation too?
Here’s the thing though. A little bit of digging shows that this is, in fact, completely unfair because Hanukkah is the only holiday that gets the easter egg treatment at all. Google “Christmas”, “Kwanzaa”, “Diwali”, “Ramadan” (yeah, I know it was nowhere near December this year, but I was trying to be thorough) and you get bupkes.
And for the record, of all the holidays I mentioned, only Diwali has a Doodle specifically for it. Even the Christmas doodles are of the much more generic “happy holiday” style
While “let it snow” is certainly reminiscent of Christmas, it’s also reminiscent of Mt. Everest. Or the South Pole. Or Buffalo.
So I’d like to formally call out Google and ask “what gives?”. I’m sure you can do better.