Google doodles have become very commonplace since their inception in 1998. If you’re not quite sure what exactly a Google doodle is, Google describes them as “fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists”.

The idea of changing the Google logo to mark important occasions originated in 1998 – before Google was even incorporated – to indicate to users that the Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were out of office and attending Burning Man. They did this by placing a stick figure behind the second “o” in the Google logo.

The second doodle ever was designed in 2000 by Dennis Hwang, an intern at Google, to celebrate Bastille Day, and its popularity convinced the team at Google to make the doodles regular occurences on the Google homepage.

Today, a whole team of illustrators is responsible for creating doodles for Google homepages all over the world. Over 2000 have been created thus far, and there’s no sign that this quirky addition to the most-visited website in the world is going anywhere.

For the past few years, Google offices in a number of different countries have also run the Google 4 Google competition, where children are invited to design a doodle which centres around a theme. They then stand the chance of winning various prizes and usually have their doodle featured on their respective country’s home page for a certain period of time.

Aside from illustrative changes to the Google logo, the company have also incorporated a number of games into the logo over the years, ensuring that users everywhere spend some time procrastinating at work when they just meant to do a quick search. If you’d like to see them all (do this at your own risk, though – we weren’t kidding about these leading to procrastination!) you can visit the Google doodle games archive here.

For doodles relating to South Africa, you can go here, or if you have some time to kill, you can scroll through every doodle ever made for Google homepages all over the world in the Google Doodles Archive.

Have an idea for a Google doodle? Google welcomes suggestions and invites anyone to send an email to proposals@google.com.

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