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Google updates logo, remaking it for the mobile age

The search giant has made big changes this summer, including the introduction of an entirely new management structure. The latest alteration: a new logo.

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Google says its new logo is better for a world where people use more devices.

Google

Google, in the process of reinventing itself as an empire of companies, gave its colorful logo a face-lift.

The search giant unveiled a new corporate logo Tuesday, a few weeks after surprising the world with a massive restructuring that will make Google part of a holding company called Alphabet.

Among the changes to the six-character brand: The logo's primary-color hues are flatter, and it closely resembles Alphabet's logo, particularly with the use of sans-serif styling, meaning its letters don't have any flourishes. Even with the update, it's still playful and uses the same colors as the previous design.

The image tweak is just the latest move by Google to show it's a far different company than the search website founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998. The Mountain View, Calif., company has since gone on to build software for smartphones and tablets, launch balloons that beam Internet signals across the globe, experiment with smart eyeware and even prototype self-driving cars.

But the logo change isn't just symbolic. When Google was created nearly two decades ago as a search engine, it was designed to give people online access to the world's information through their desktop computers. Now people are accessing the Web through everything from smartphones to tablets to smartwatches. This new logo, Google said, will be easier to read on small devices, and will complement the mobile-friendly "G" icon also introduced Tuesday.

"These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices -- sometimes all in a single day," Tamar Yehoshua, a vice president in product management, and Bobby Nath, director of user experience, wrote in a blog post announcing the new logo.

This isn't the first time Google has updated its look. The company has done it six times since co-founders Page and Brin founded the company as Stanford University graduate students. Each change has been a refinement, focused on following Web trends and making the name more readable on newly popular devices.

The logo isn't the only refinement Google has made to its brand. Last year, the company unveiled a sweeping design update for its Android software, an operating system for mobile devices that now powers more than 80 percent of the world's smartphones. Called Android Lollipop, the new software included an aesthetic the company called "material design," which puts a bigger emphasis on a 3D look and animations. The goal, Google said, was to unify the look and feel of the software across all kinds of devices.

Other tech giants have also made high-profile logo changes. In July, Facebook updated its logo by switching to a typeface designed to show up better on smartphones. In 2013, a year after taking over, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer also opted for a new typeface in changing Yahoo's logo. (For better or worse, Yahoo kept the trademark exclamation point after its name.)