Who is H.G. Wells? That's what many Googlers are asking after an elaborate three weeks of mysterious logos on the Google homepage. But the company lifted the veil early this morning, explaining the series of UFO-inspired doodles.
First came the Sept. 5 image of a UFO abducting the second O in Google's name. The odd picture came with the cryptic Twitter tweet: 1.12.12 188.8.131.52 15 1.18.5 184.108.40.206.14.7 20.15 21.19. Each number stood for a corresponding letter (1 is A, 2 is B, etc.) All together the coded message comes out as "All your O are belong to us," which Google acknowledged this morning was a reference to the infamously poor translation, "All your base are belong to us," from the Japanese video game Zero Wing.
Last weekend brought the second UFO sighting on Google's homepage. This time inspired by crop circles, the Google doodle showed a flying saucer sculpting the company's name into an illustrated corn field. As we wrote last Monday, "to add to the mystery, Google posted the coordinates “51.327629, -0.5616088” in a cryptic Twitter tweet. Curious searchers identified the spot as Horsell, England. Sci-Fi aficionados may recognize the name. In 'War of the Worlds,' HG Wells wrote that Horsell residents witnessed the first UFO landing."
Today's close encounter came as a three-legged spaceship romping through a rural village that vaguely resembles the Google emblem. The company's name is far more obscured than in the other two, but its meaning is finally clear.
"Now, we're finally acknowledging the reason for the doodles with an official nod to Herbert George, who would be 143 years old today," Google posted on its official blog shortly after midnight on Monday. "Inspiration for innovation in technology and design can come from lots of places; we wanted to celebrate H.G. Wells as an author who encouraged fantastical thinking about what is possible, on this planet and beyond. And maybe have some fun while we were doing it."
H.G. Wells wrote several important works of early science fiction, most notably "War of the Worlds," "The Time Machine," and "The Invisible Man." The British Author died in 1946.
This series was certainly one of the more involved Google doodles. Most of the company's past tributes have been single-shot affairs. The suspense even had the Guardian hypothesizing that the stunt was "almost certainly a viral marketing campaign teasing people ahead of some launch in a week or two." Maybe next time.
Readers, what do you think Google should riff on next? There are other important cultural birthdays coming up. Sufi poet Rumi would be 801 on Sept. 30. Musician John Lennon celebrated on Oct. 9. Painter Pablo Picasso's 127th birthday hits October 25, but Google has already commemorated him.
Google is going to take over the world. Not really, but it’s fun to imagine. As the Internet behemoth lays claim to more and more territory – books, smart phones, voice mail, magazines, maps, electricity meters, we could go on – Google has long passed the critical mass needed to become the butt of many, many conspiracy theories.
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