Today marks the official 15th birthday of everyone's favourite startup search engine turned tech giant turned Big Brother. And even though many have had their gripes, it's hard not to look back at our Google-fuelled time online with a sense of fondness. Because no matter where you might find yourself in life, you know that Google will always be there with a delightful little doodle to commemorate every possible occasion they can find an excuse for — special or otherwise.
Because 15 years of Google Doodle's is a lot of Google Doodles — especially when there's no rhyme or reason to what's deemed worthy. They were judicious with the honour in the beginning, and in fact, the only reason the whole thing got started was a matter of practicality. Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to let everyone know they were out of the office, so they stuck the Burning Man symbol on the page and left to go trip in the desert — the rest is history. These days, though, Doodles are less about "utility" and more about "why the hell not." It's Juraj Jánošík's 325th birthday? Let's get him on the page, then. Who's Juraj Jánošík? Who cares! Look at the pretty picture.
So thanks to its liberal Doodle guidelines, Google has offered up some pretty incredible takes on its classic logo throughout the years. Here are our favourite ones from every year they've been servicing the interwebs. Don't agree? Take a look at the collection and let us know your picks down below.
August 30, 1998 - The grandaddy of all Google Doodles, the Burning Man Festival symbol took the very first honours.
November 30, 1999 - This Uncle Sam Doodle took you to the Google search page for the United States Government.
May 5, 2000 - Every single planet was briefly almost perfectly aligned with the sun.
April 22, 2001 - This Earth Day was the first time Google had really made creative use of its two "o"s.
August 6, 2002 - Andy Warhol's 74th birthday gave us the most altered Doodle logo yet.
April 24, 2003 - DNA celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Feb 2, 2003 - In honour of French mathematician Gaston Julia's 111th birthday, Google gave us some beautifully complex fractals to look at.
January 1, 2005 - If you weren't looking for the nod to the new year in this subtle New Year's Day Doodle, you'd probably miss it.
January 4, 2006 - The first total departure from the English alphabet came on Louis Braille's 107th birthday.
December 22, 2007 - Not a great year as far as creative Doodles go, but this bit of holiday humour was a welcome addition.
January 28, 2008 - Around this time, the Google Doodle team really started refining their craft, like with this fantastic celebration of the Lego brick's 50th anniversary.
October 7, 2009 - Though quite as beautiful, Google's celebration of the invention of the barcode was certainly functional. And what happens if you scan it? You can probably guess.
October 8, 2010 - While this isn't a Doodle in the traditional sense, we can understand why John Lennon's 70th birthday warranted a little something special.