Monday, 12 August 2013

The Google Doodle ‘Birthday’ Celebrations - Why We're Party Poopers!

Bearing in mind we're a little more susceptible to irritation on Monday mornings, today's Google Doodle celebrating Erwin Schroedinger's '126th birthday' has earned itself a rant.

According to Google’s ‘ About Doodles’ page, the Google doodles have been going strong for almost 15 years after the very first design was created in 1988 to celebrate the Burning Man festival. After this, more designs crept onto the Google site, usually celebrating well known holidays. Now however, the doodles celebrate a vast array of events, past and present as well as ‘birthdays’.

Google may have endeared itself to its users with its quirky or interactive doodle designs but the irksome use of the word 'birthday' when they mean to celebrate an anniversary is a source of great frustration to us. A birthday cannot be celebrated after the death of a person; when someone dies it is no longer possible for them to have a birthday, an anniversary of their day of birth perhaps but that’s it. Google infuriatingly continues to clock up the birthdays of the people it chooses to celebrate. So far we've had the pleasure in the last few years of celebrating Frida Kahlo’s 103rd birthday, Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd and Charles Dickens’ 200th amongst others. If this weren't irritating enough, on the ‘About Doodles’ page, Google itself acknowledges that the doodles celebrate anniversaries; wouldn't it be better to tag them as such to make it a more fitting tribute? While paying homage to a particular person’s contribution to society or science or anything else might be admirable, we think their achievements should be the focus, not how old they would have been one particular year.