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Google marks 20 years of Doodling with 20 notable Doodles

The colorful logo embellishments have come a long way since the clip art of the '90s.

burningmandoodle

The first Google Doodle, from 20 years ago, to indicate the company's founders were headed to Burning Man.

Google

It's been 20 years since the first Google Doodle appeared on the company's home page, and the web giant is marking the occasion with a walk down memory lane.

The first Doodle appeared in 1998, when Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to spoof the traditional "out of office" sign by placing the Burning Man logo over the second "O" in the company's corporate logo while the two were at the annual arts festival in the Nevada desert.

Since then, the idea of adding colorful graphics to Google's logo to highlight notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries has taken off, spawning its own following among web users. They've celebrated Pac-Man's anniversary, Copernicus' birthday, Mother's Day and the World Cup, as well as reminding us of lesser-known real-world heroes.

"When doodles were first created, nobody had anticipated how popular and integral they would become to the Google search experience," a corporate history of the Doodle recalls. "Nowadays, many users excitedly anticipate the release of each new doodle and some even collect them."

In the past two decades, the artists on the Doodle team have created thousands of Doodles for countries around the world. The Doodles themselves have evolved from the simple turkey clip art used in 1998's Thanksgiving Day Doodle to include illustrated, animated and interactive-game variations of the company's logo. Google even saw a VR Doodle nominated for an Emmy award.

To celebrate two decades of Doodles, Google is revisiting 20 notable examples in a slideshow. (For many more over the years, check out CNET's Doodle section.)

burningmandoodle

First Doodle ever, from 1998: Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hung this on their young website as an "out of office" message while they were at Burning Man.

Google

From May 2000: Five Doodles showed aliens encountering the Google logo, then hauling it off to Mars (the series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Google

From 2000: Dennis Hwang, an intern at the time, was asked by Page and Brin to create a Doodle to commemorate Bastille Day. It was so well received that Hwang was named Google's first Chief Doodler, and Doodles started appearing regularly on the Google homepage.

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From Halloween 2000: Google's first animated Doodle, it featured two jack-o-lanterns in place of the "O's" in Google and a scary spider dangling from the L.

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pac-man-doodle

From 2010: Google's first interactive game, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, included the original game logic, graphics, sounds, and even the original bugs.

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chaplin-doodle

From 2011: Google's first live-action Doodle celebrated Charlie Chaplin's 122nd birthday. It featured appearances from the entire Doodle team and was recorded in Niles, California, on the same set where many of Chaplin's silent movies were filmed.

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grimm-200

From 2012: Google's first slideshow Doodle, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Grimm's fairy tales, presented a modern take on "Little Red Riding Hood," complete with an alternative ending.

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stansislaw-60th

From 2011: The first open-sourced code Doodle honored the 60th anniversary of science-fiction writer Stanisław Lem's first publication. It was the first time the code behind a Doodle had been open sourced, allowing the public to access the code and see how the Doodle was built.

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debussy-151

From 2013: Google's first Doodle animated by piano celebrated the 151st birthday of Claude Debussy. Panning across an 1800s cityscape at night, the Doodle features lights, smoke puffs and star twinkles perfectly timed to Debussy's music.

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google-doodle-earth-bloom

From 2012: Google's first organic Doodle marked Earth Day with a rooftop camera showing a Google garden taking its colorful shape.

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From 2016: Google's first animated paper cut-out Doodle marked the 117th birthday of filmmaker and animator Lotte Reiniger. Replicating his style, the Doodle team painstakingly cut thousands of paper silhouettes and moved them ever so slightly for each frame.

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From 2018: Google's first Doodle with a narrated poem honored Maya Angelou's 90th birthday. In this video Doodle,  Angelou's iconic poem "Still I Rise" is narrated by Alicia Keys, Martina McBride, Oprah Winfrey and even the author's son Guy Johnson.

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From 2018: Google's first VR/360 Doodle celebrated the life of pioneering French illusionist and film director Georges Méliès. This Emmy-nominated VR/360 video Doodle told the story of a Méliès-like character and his adventures on a virtual film set.

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wateronmoon

From 2009: Google's First same-day Doodle highlighting the discovery of water on the moon. Google says: "Doodle artist Jennifer Horn was so inspired by a news article she read about the discovery of water on the moon that she immediately set to work on a Doodle to commemorate this event. The Doodle was completed in roughly four hours, and still holds the record for fastest Doodle launch ever."

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intl-womens-day

From 2014: The most people featured in a Doodle marked International Women's Day and included more than 100 inspiring women from all around the world, such as Russian actress, comedian and singer Nonna Grishaeva; 14-year-old Brazilian education activist Isadora Faber; Nigerian agricultural pioneer Foluso Olaniyan, and many others.

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 From 2017: The most partners involved in a Doodle marked the 44th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop. With the help of seven creative partners and nine hip-hop pioneers, the Doodle offered a tutorial on how to be a virtual DJ on a pair of interactive turntables and let you mix samples from legendary breakbeats.

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From 2017: The Doodle with the longest production time celebrated the life of Mexican-American musician, fashion icon, entrepreneur, philanthropist and international superstar Selena Quintanilla. The musical Doodle video, illustrating Selena's rise from childhood phenom to musical powerhouse, took 18 months to produce.

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doodle4google2005

From 2005: Google's first Doodle 4 Google contest winner, The Day of the Child, was drawn by 11-year-old Lisa Wainaina. The now-annual contest invites students to design their own Doodle, competing for a chance to win scholarships and technology packages for their schools.

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From 2015: Google's first Doodle quiz marked Earth Day and helped people discover themselves in the animal kingdom -- and learn fun animal facts in the process. Animal-loving celebrities like Jane Goodall and Edward Norton filmed videos sharing their personal critters, and helped raise money for several animal charities.

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momo-doodle

From Halloween 2016, Google's best cat cameo featured Momo the Cat in a Halloween-themed game. The game included muliple levels, magic spells, and a powerful wand to fend off ghostly foes. Momo made appearances in 2015's and 2017's Halloween Doodles as well.

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Doodling our world: Check out Google's previous celebrations of people, events and holidays that impact our lives.

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