Google is celebrating its 19th birthday with a Doodle that features 19 “surprises,” ranging from games to quizzes and interactive music lessons.
The Doodle on the Google homepage features a “Surprise Spinner” that randomly selects one of the 19 surprises. The popular “Cricket Game,” the new “Snake” game and a “Pony Express” game are among those that could pop up. We have compiled links to all 19 surprises, in case you can’t get the spinner to bring up the one you are looking for. We also have a few details on each game to help you decide the one you want to check out.
Google has been celebrating its 19th birthday throughout the year.
“They say life is full of surprises, and Google’s history is chock-full of them. In fact, we wouldn’t be here without them,” Google says. “In 1997, one of Google’s co-founders, Larry Page, had just arrived at Stanford University to pursue his P.h.D in computer science. Of all the students on campus, Google’s other co-founder, Sergey Brin, was randomly assigned to show Page around. This chance encounter was the happy surprise that started it all.”
Google explains, “Upon clicking today’s Doodle, we invite you to explore 19 surprises we’ve launched over the past 19 years – including our brand new Search Funbox: Snake Game! So give it a spin and thanks for celebrating with us!”
Here are the 19 surprises Google is featuring. Click on the name of the surprise to go to that page:
The Snake game is one of the latest to be featured in Google’s “Search Funbox,” which puts classic games right at your fingertips when you search for them. The Snake game features a line, the “snake” that grows in length as it eats apples. The snake is controlled by the user by pressing the keyboard arrow buttons. If you run into the wall or into the snake itself, you lose.
The game dates back to arcades in the 1970s, according to PocketGamer.biz, and was one of the first to be featured on mobile devices.
“The Snake has appeared in many different forms over the decades, but it’s first appearance took place in the mid 1970s and was called Blockade. It was the creation of Gremlin Industries, who specialised in coin-operated arcade machines. In 1984, they closed their doors, never to open again. But their game still lives on,” according to Microsoft. “By 1997, it had found its way into people’s pockets, onto their Nokia phones and created the craze of mobile gaming among teenagers. The Nokia 6110 was Nokia’s first phone with Snake and they continued to manufacture new models with the game installed throughout the next decade.”
The Cricket Game was unveiled by Google earlier this year to celebrate the ICC Champions Trophy. It proved to be one of the most popular Doodle games the company has created.
“Ah, summer: the sound of leather on willow, and the spectacle of cricket … cricket! As the tournament begins in the Oval cricket ground, something buzzes outside,” Google says. “A team of crickets sans tickets have set up their own wickets for a game of pest cricket! As they face their archrivals, the snails, it’s sure to be a match for the centuries. Don’t be fooled by their sluggish looks — these fielders can be fast on their feet!”
Google continues, “We know that cricket is loved worldwide, so we wanted to make sure our Doodle works for everyone, including those on slower mobile networks. We kept the file size fly-sized, and the result is our smallest interactive Doodle ever — even snail networks can load it in seconds. Whether you’re enjoying the tournament at a snail’s pace or bowling faster than the beat of a hummingbird’s wings, here’s hoping you hit it out of the park this summer!”
The Earth Day Quiz is an interactive window that comes up when you search Earth Day Quiz on Google. It was featured as part of a Doodle in 2015. The Doodle helps you find out what animal you are.
Google had several celebrities and well known environmentalists take the quiz, including Jane Goodall. You can watch her take the quiz above and see more videos here, before you take it yourself.
“Clicking on this year’s Earth Day logo (or searching for “Earth Day quiz”) presents one of the Internet’s favorite pastimes: a totally scientific and 1,000% accurate personality quiz. Take the time to answer a few questions to determine and share your Earth Day animal. And, of course, you’re only a search away from learning more about nature’s precious pals and interesting inhabitants (fyi: kakapo is the heaviest parrot),” Google says.
Another popular interactive Google Doodle makes its return to the spotlight in the Surprise Spinner. Earlier this year, Google celebrated the 45th anniversary of hip-hop with an interactive game that allows you to be a DJ with interactive turntables.
To get started, all you have to do is click the play button and it will take you to a digital “record crate” where you can choose between an array of classic songs. The artists listed are some of the most popular and frequently sampled in hip hop history, including The Isley Brothers, George Clinton, Betty Wright and Billy Squier.
After you’ve picked your song, you can customize the mix using the slider controls. Then, you can emulate DJ Kool Herc’s famed “breaks” and make your own hip hop beat. The experience is narrated by filmmaker and hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy (born Fred Brathwaite).
This interactive Doodle surprise features a visual music composition creator in honor of filmmaker and artist Oskar Fischinger.
You can get pretty creative with the creator, as seen in the video above, featuring Dave Wave playing Shape of You by Ed Sheeran with the interactive tool.
Feeling stressed out? Just Google “breathing exercise” and the search engine will give you a few ways to calm yourself down.
Want to play tic tac toe, but don’t have someone to play against? Google will be your opponent. The game pops up when you search “tic tac toe” and is also featured as one of the special birthday surprises in the spinner.
Back when Google turned 15, it created a game for its users. The company has brought the game back for its 19th birthday as one of the surprises in its birthday spinner.
Back when it turned 15, Google admitted it’s not really sure when it was really born:
When’s Google’s birthday? I’m not sure even we know – we’ve celebrated on September 7th, 8th, 26th, and, most recently the 27th.
Still, while there’re some differing opinions about when to bust out the candles and cake, one fun fact is that our first doodle was posted even before Google was officially incorporated (August 30th, 1998 vs. September 4th, 1998).
With a company that’s got fun as deeply embedded in its DNA as Google, it seems fitting that any function would be a real bash, if you will.
And this year bash you did! I don’t want to say how many hundreds of millions of Google’s 15th Birthday Piñata games were played or how many billions of candies won, but suffice to say your boss might be miffed you weren’t doing real work and your dentist will be delighted you weren’t eating real sweets.
In January 2016, Google celebrated the birthday of Wilbur Scoville with a special interactive game. You can play it above.
“People have known about the tongue-burning, tear-inducing qualities of peppers long before Columbus reached the Americas. Before Wilbur Scoville, however, no one knew how to measure a pepper’s “heat”. The doodle team thought his work in this field—and the development of his eponymous Scoville Scale—deserved some recognition,” Google says. “Born in Bridgeport Connecticut on January 22nd, 1865, Wilbur Lincoln Scoville was a chemist, award-winning researcher, professor of pharmacology and the second vice-chairman of the American Pharmaceutical Association. His book, The Art of Compounding, makes one of the earliest mentions of milk as an antidote for pepper heat. He is perhaps best remembered for his organoleptic test, which uses human testers to measure pungency in peppers.”
The Google Chrome Music Lab is was created for its “Music In Our Schools Month” and features a bunch of cool interactives that allow you to play or learn about music right from your computer or mobile device.
“Chrome Music Lab is a collection of experiments that let anyone, at any age, explore how music works. They’re collaborations between musicians and coders, all built with the freely available Web Audio API. These experiments are just a start. Check out each experiment to find open-source code you can use to build your own,” Google says.
The music lab interactive featured by Google in its birthday Surprise Spinner is “arpeggios,” which was created by Yotam Mann.
“An arpeggio is a chord played one note at a time. This experiment lets you play arpeggios in different patterns,” Google says. Tap the wheel to explore major and minor chords.”
Not sure what sound a certain animal makes? Or just want to hear some cool animal sounds? Google has those for you. When you search “animal sounds,” an interactive box pops up that lets you go through dozens of animals and hear recordings of their distinctive sounds.
In celebration of the creation of the classic Pac Man game, Google made it easy to play, putting an interactive game right in the search results. The Google search game was created in 2010 when a Doodle celebrated the 30th birthday of Pac Man, and it has been one of its most popular Doodle games.
“Today, on PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday, you can rediscover some of your 8-bit memories—or meet PAC-MAN for the first time—through our first-ever playable Google doodle. To play the game, go to google.com during the next 48 hours (because it’s too cool to keep for just one day) and either press the “Insert Coin” button or just wait for a few seconds,” Google said at the time. “Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include PAC-MAN’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece. We also added a little easter egg: if you throw in another coin, Ms. PAC-MAN joins the party and you can play together with someone else (PAC-MAN is controlled with arrow keys or by clicking on the maze, Ms. PAC-MAN using the WASD keys).”
In 2015, Google celebrated Beethoven’s 245th birthday with an interactive Doodle.
In the game, you are tasked with helping the composer re-assemble his legendary works after he is in an accident on the way to a concert hall. It features some of his most famous works, including the Fifth Symphony, Für Elise, the Moonlight Sonata and Ode to Joy.
For Valentine’s Day 2017, Google and the World Wildlife Fund teamed up for a series of Doodles featuring the pangolin, in an effort to raise awareness about the animal.
According to a World Wildlife Fund blog about pangolins says that their name originated as “penggulung.” A Malay word for a roller. Malay is the language of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia. That’s the position that the scaly mammal takes when predators are nearby. They roll into a ball with its sharp scales pointed outwards. The defense mechanism has made pangolins easier for poachers to scoop up.
They mainly feed on ants and are known in some circles as “scaly anteaters.” The pangolin’s tongue is long and sticky, the have no teeth. There are eight different species living today. Experts believe there have been more types over the course of the pangolin’s 80 million years of evolution.
One of the Doodles featured a Pangolin game that you can play as part of the Surprise Spinner.
Back in 2016, Google celebrated Halloween with a special interactive Doodle, and it’s back in the Surprise Spinner for the company’s 19th birthday.
“Grab your wand and help fend off a ghostly catastrophe. Press play to swipe spells, save your friends, and help restore the peace at the Magic Cat Academy,” Google says. “This year’s Halloween Doodle follows freshman feline Momo on her mission to rescue her school of magic. Help her cast out mischievous spirits by swiping in the shape of the symbols above the ghosts’ heads. And you’d better pounce fast—the ghost that stole the master spellbook is getting away!”
According to Google, “The game includes five levels set in a school environment: the library, cafeteria, classroom, gym, and the building’s rooftop. We had lots of fun ideas for the resident foe of each level, including a chef ghost, a venn diagram ghost, and a big whistle ghost that summons other spirits.”
One of the 19 surprises for Google’s birthday is an interactive Google Maps tool that allows you to explore the Galapogos Islands right from your computer or mobile device. It is part of the Street View Treks mission from Google to explore areas outside the scope of a normal Street View path.
“Charles Darwin’s observations and collections of the Galápagos wildlife in 1835 contributed to his theory of evolution by natural selection,” Google says. “For the first time, scientists and researchers are using Street View imagery to study the land, coast, and sea of the Galápagos islands. The Galápagos are home to hundreds of endemic wildlife species, found nowhere else on earth. Detailed imagery gives researchers and enthusiasts a firsthand view. What can you spot?”
Another game Google is featuring is one of the most classic computer programs in history: solitaire. Just type solitaire into your search bar on Google and the game will pop right up.
In 2016, Google celebrated the 105th birthday of musician Clara Rockmore with an interactive Google Doodle. You can check it out by clicking the link above. The Doodle allows you to learn how to play her instrument, the theremin:
Today’s interactive Google Doodle was created by artist Robinson Wood, interaction designer Kevin Burke, and engineers Will Knowles and Kris Hom (with support from the larger Doodle engineering team). The team translated the movement used to play the theremin—one hand controlling pitch and the other volume—to an interactive module, where a point of light controls volume and pitch. Sound designer Manuel Clément helped with the button sound effects.
Engineer Will Knowles explained that the first attempt at recreating the theremin sound was fairly straightforward: just a “single oscillator producing a wave at a given frequency.” But Knowles and his team wanted to create a sound quality that resembled Rockmore’s own playing. “To accomplish this,” he said, “we worked with the Chrome WebAudio team and theremin expert Mark Goldstein to create smooth sliding between frequencies and scaling vibrato to simulate her masterful play style.” They also used filters to get across a “a softer, more aged feel.”
Robinson Wood and Kevin Burke also reflected Rockmore’s world in the visual design of the Doodle, with Art Deco-styled imagery and other period details. “We wanted to give the theremin’s controls a feel of realism,” Burke said, “so the knob textures were rendered to mimic Bakelite, the early plastic. We chose the wood texture for its similarity to the wood of Clara’s RCA theremin.”
The final surprise in Google’s Birthday Surprise Spinner is in celebration of the first mail pouch delivered by the Pony Express. The game was created in 2015 for the 155th anniversary of the Western mail service.
“The notion of triumph through adversity is so inspirational. So when William H.Russell, Alexander Majors & William B Waddell founded the Pony Express on April 3rd, 1860, they set in motion a wonderful yet daunting method of communication. What a concept–riders with letters on horseback racing from California to Missouri and vice versa to deliver mail on time! True to their word, the first mail arrived on April 14th,” Google said.
“The Pony Express felt like a great game concept to us at Google. We’ve made time-based games in the past so our new idea was simple,” Google continues. “Collect letters, avoid obstacles and aim for the ultimate 100 letter delivery! We know everyone is busy these days but the Pony Express needs YOU. And ultimately, whatever happens in life, what’s more important than earning trust and respect from a horse?”