Changes to the traditional Google homepage logo are often an attempt to honor artists and important historical figures – or to draw attention to an event such as the Olympics. But today's Google logo – a mass of bright, bouncy colored balls – isn't obviously linked to a birthday or anniversary, and Google has remained mum on the inspiration for the change.
So what gives? Conspiracy theories abound.
For his part, Ryan Tate of Gawker says Google is using the homepage logo as a way to drum up excitement in advance of a major announcement. "Some people predict Google is about to roll out search results that stream in as you type, a feature that's already been tested on some users," Tate writes. "Which would mean the death of that 'I'm feeling lucky button' that costs Google $110 million+ per year."
Over at the Guardian, tech reporters Charles Arthur and Adam Gabbatt say the aim of the logo, which uses a kind of Web coding called CSS3, is effectively an attempt to lobby for changes in the infrastructure of the Web itself.
The logo was created to "draw attention to the importance of CSS3, an emerging standard which is being developed as the next version of the web language HTML, called HTML5, is being ratified by the World Wide Web Consortium," Arthur and Gabbatt write. "Google has been eager to push HTML5 and CSS3, and its Chrome browser, because it offers many more possibilities in the design of web pages, which could be more interactive with less effort by designers."
But David S. Morgan of CBS has an even simpler explanation: Today's Google logo is just a celebration of the first Google birthday doodle itself, which went live on Sept. 7 of 2003. (The 2003 logo featured a cake and a party hat.)
"Although the domain name google.com was registered on Sept. 15, 1997, and the company incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998, Google previously celebrated its birthday with Google art on Sept. 7, in 2003 (5 years) and 2004 (6 years)," Morgan writes.
Hey, your guess is as good as ours. Got some thoughts? Drop us a line in the comments section – and as always, keep it civil, folks.