I have little more than a fleeting understanding of how Google works.
But, living in the Western world (or, indeed, anywhere you can access the Internet), you’d have had to be residing under a rock not to know that in a few short years, the number one search engine has become a multi-billion Internet giant, revolutionising the way the web works, introducing online products you didn’t even know you needed, providing email, maps, translations, and sneaky (and oft-contested) peeks into practically anywhere on the planet (North Korea excepted); in short, doing more with a search box and expanse of white homepage space than any website before or since.
The key to why I consistently use Google over Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine, translator or map tool, lies in its simplicity, superior search results, and ease of use. Also, with its cuddly-looking, iconic logo, Google also manages to seem appealing, and the company’s willingness to indulge in this whimsical side of its brand periodically shows through on the days where the multi-coloured letters suddenly change – to an image, a game, an animation. A quick click on the altered brand name takes you through to an explanation of what said image or animation is in honour of; a birthday of a famous historical character, the anniversary of a the publication of a seminal book, a holiday festival, the remembrance of a recently deceased but much-loved public figure – and Google, the huge, privacy-invading, global Internet behemoth, acquires a cheeky, human face.
There have been many such instances, but yesterday, Google outdid itself. To celebrate the 76th birthday of the late Roger Hargreaves, it unveiled 16, yes 16, seriously cute and original illustrations in the style of those seen within the pages of the classic books. Hargreaves, whose simple, colourful children’s characters with personalities that suit their names, have captivated and amused the world (and me, and many of my friends who have been the recipients of many a Little Miss book as birthday presents), died in 1988 aged 53, but his legacy and books live on through his son, Adam, who continues to run the business.
So, as soon as I saw the little designs, I knew I had to capture them. I refreshed the page over and over, checking I’d copied each image for posterity. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one with this idea – clearly, other people loved the pictures, too. Check out this video from YouTube; they may be alternative brands for a super-corporation, but beyond that, the images are cute, and they brightened up my day, proving, as if that were necessary, that it really is the little things that count.