April 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM ET
Attention all starving artists! Google is looking for you to become their newest Doodler, aka the graphic designer/illustrator who works on the team that comes out with all those creative interpretations of the Google homepage.
It's a dream job for one of the most high profile parts of Google. Check out the description of the role of the Doodler, in this job posting:
First impressions matter. Every day, hundreds of millions of online users visit the Google homepage. Yes, to search. But also, to be delighted, informed and surprised (And maybe even to laugh a little). The Google Doodle makes this possible -- it's the change that is constant on Google.com. As a Product Graphic Designer/Illustrator, more commonly known as a "Doodler," you have the world's best platform to showcase your stylistic skills -- as well as your sense of humor, love of all things historical and imaginative artistry. From Jules Verne to Pac-Man, you have the reins to our brand and iconic logo and can run free with your innovative ideas. Go forth and doodle!
Google doodles first began in 1998 -- years before Google became a household name -- when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had a little fun with their unincorporated company logo at Burning Man. As described on the "About Doodles" page: "They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd "o" in the word Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were 'out of office.'"
But, more formally, doodles really came of age in 2000, when Page and Brin again had a hunkering to tinker with the logo. They asked an intern (who became the current webmaster) to produce a doodle commemorating Bastille Day. That intern, Dennis Hwang, became the first chief doodler. (The current chief doodler is Ryan Germick.) And now, it looks like they're looking for more to whip out images that will continue to captivate eyes everywhere.
The team is still made up of a "handful of artists, also engineers well-versed in HTML5 and Flash," said Google spokesperson Krisztina Radosavljevic-Szilagyi. She said they don't track an annual count of doodles, but in 2000, only 33 existed, and they're definitely on the simpler side. In 2005, only 44. In 2008, 153.
And since then, they've exploded, with more than 1,000 created for homepages around the world -- with most country-specific in terms of significant dates and birthdays. Only a few, however, get picked up for worldwide distribution. The last global doodle celebrated Eadweard J. Muybridge's 182nd Birthday on April 9 with an original interactive horse and jockey riding fast using the stop-motion animation he created.
Over the years, the creativity that has come through that homepage seems to have no bounds.
We've seen birthday wishes for Freddie Mercury turn into a snappy mini-cartoon-movie, admired the grace of dancing Martha Graham and smiled in appreciation of the animated interpretation of John Lennon's "Imagine." We've also been impressed with Alexander Calder's moving mobile and the playable/recordable Les Paul guitar, and felt our hearts melt with this year's Valentine's Day story.
In February, Google released the following video to give a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into doodles, and also serves as a reminder for kids to submit doodles for Google's annual contest, so future (or wanna-be) doodlers, take notes!
Check out Technolog on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the Google+ stream. But after this, you won't find her on msnbc.com. Off to a new job, folks! It's been great.