Apparently, today is Google’s 23rd birthday. There are so many reasons to wish Google a “Happy Birthday!” as it adds tremendous value to our culture and society. At the same time, I ponder where this culture of collecting and selling data goes. I wish I could get from Google and other companies the great products and services they develop without being constantly registered and targeted. Imagine the internet as a flea market.
At any rate, I want to write about the image that Google posted today on the Search homepage, showing an animated two-tier birthday cake, with chocolate icing, colourful candies, and a candle (see above). On the second tier of the cake, they wrote “23” to indicate the number of years the company has been around. The letters in the inscription “Google” above the cake look like cookies or doughnuts, and they are covered by chocolate icing and candies, just like the cake. Sweet.
What caught my eye this morning was the cake’s freckles that are spread on its face on the first tier. Since the chocolate icing above the face looks like the cake’s hair, we cannot identify the brown dots on the second tier as freckles as well. These and those on the “Google” inscription are probably crumbles. I find the use of the brown dots as both freckles and crumbles charming, and would like to take the challenge of explaining how this charm is constructed.
First, note how the pattern in which the brown dots are spread becomes less ordered as we go up the cake. The freckles are divided into two groups of five on each side of the face, while the crumbles on the second tier cover it somewhat equally, and the crumbles on the inscription are independent of any grid. Second, this gradual three-fold change in the pattern of the dots takes place in a small space. It means that the illustration requires us to adapt our interpretation of the dots quickly according to their pattern. What we think we see promptly becomes something else. This is how the wonder is constructed. The charm is introduced with the cake’s smile that is pleased with its wonder.