|Google's current standard logo|
|Google Doodle, February 29, 2012 (commemorating composer Gioachino Rossini's 200th birthday and the present Leap Year)|
|First Google Doodle, August 30, 1998 (commemorating company founders' attendance at the Burning Man Festival)|
|Google Doodle, May 11, 2011 (commemorating dancer Martha Graham's 117th birthday)|
|Google Doodle, June 9, 2011 (commemorating electric guitar inventor Les Paul's 96th birthday)|
|Current "Doodlers" Jennifer Hom, Mike Dutton, Ryan Germick, Sophia Foster Dimino, and Willie Real|
Google's Doodle team creates the altered logos by holding brainstorming sessions about things that interest them or by looking at things that have been trending on the site. They do allow users to submit proposals for future Doodles or fan created Doodles by emailing email@example.com and have held a contest called "Doodle 4 Google" to allow fans to directly create Doodles that are then used on the site. Ultimately, the Doodle selection team and artists aim to celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google's personality and love for innovation. All past Doodles (both American and international) dating back to the first in 1998 are currently archived at www.google.com/doodles for users to view and explore.
So why is this creative? Google Doodles are not fundamental to the site's intended purpose, so they really do not solve a problem nor do they most likely generate much additional traffic to the site. Most marketing professionals would cringe at the idea of altering a logo that is so intrinsically tied to a major international corporation. Still, Google sees this feature of their site significant enough to keep a fairly large staff on the payroll just to alter said logo about once every couple weeks. Maybe the company does it because they want to spread little-known knowledge in the world or just want to distinguish themselves from the likes of Bing or Yahoo, but I think that they do it just for the pure enjoyment of it. When you are having a busy or stressful day, there can be something calming or therapeutic about strumming a few notes on the Google logo or learning a new trivia fact about something related to the present date. Google Doodles exist to allow the company to exhibit its creative side while also allowing users to be creative in the same process. Furthermore, Doodles are educational by sharing the spirit of innovation and creativity with a good chunk of the world on a fairly frequent basis. Doodles might not be considered creative based on our criteria of being novel or extremely useful, but no one can argue that the whole concept is not deeply immersed in a spirit of creativity.