June 10, 2011 | In: Technology

Annoying Google Doodles

I understand that Google is always trying to impress us with something new on their webpage, something original, like an image or something. But I have recently noticed that the frequency of the doodles (when Google replaces its own logo with another image celebrating a person, an idea, a holiday, or a country) is increasing, and not only that, they are becoming more interactive, which is becoming very annoying.

Today was by far the most annoying one. It was a guitar that whenever you passed the mouse over, you will hear it playing, which becomes frustrating when you visit Google 20 times/hour. I remember another annoying doodle was about an animated dancer.

I just go to Google to search because they return the best search results, I don’t expect to have fun in my search endeavor, I just want to see what the results of my search are. I hope Google changes its strategy that consists of publishing doodles nearly every other day on their global website. Google’s simplicity and focus on the results was what made their search superior to the competition in the first place.

OK, now how does this relate to stock trading? I believe that now Google is trying to make its search experience more fun (or so they think) to sustain control over the web search market, and to make Facebook’s job much harder in case they (Facebook) want to expand into the search market (because if they do, Google will face some serious issues). GOOG is still in a downtrend and is currently trading at around $516.

You can see a list of all the Google doodles here; you can easily notice how the frequency increased over the years, especially as of 2010.

4 Responses to Annoying Google Doodles



June 12th, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I know exactly what you mean about Google Doodles. A few years back (say around 1998-2002), they *were* fun, specifically because they were infrequent, and because they weren’t in-your-face-distracting. More recently, though, the noisy, animated, distracting irritants that Google Doodles have become are just a symptom of the wider malady that Google is experiencing, which is that they’ve let their marketing people and more ADHD-inclined techies start running the show, rather than being driven by what users’ tell them they need and expect in a search engine.

You don’t have to look far for examples of Google doing what Google thinks is best (for them), and that turns out to be fundamentally unhelpful to users. ‘Google Instant’ – that feature that interrupts you constantly and slows down your keystrokes whilst you’re typing to present you with suggested search terms that are almost always entirely unrelated to what you actually wanted to search for, is one such feature. It’s like having a conversation with someone that constantly tries to finish your sentences for you – rude, pointless, and irritating. Their ‘showing results for’ feature is just as bad – how arrogant can an organisation be to actually *ignore* what you’ve typed after ploughing through myriad unhelpful suggestions, and instead show results for what they think you probably meant instead? I suspect this feature is driven far more by Google’s marketing people wanting to have their paying advertisers’ websites returned more highly in search results than would be the case if Google actually searched for what users told them they were interested in. I believe this because I’ve seen literally hundreds of other users complaining about this feature on Google’s own forum, and so far all Google has done is ignore the discontent being expressed. Google wave and Gmail are high on the list of Google Irritants too. Try using an e-mail application like Outlook or Thunderbird to interact with these ‘improvements’ on traditional e-mail, and you’ll soon find yourself receiving copies of messages that you’ve sent other people, looking in your Sent Items for replies you’ve received, and in your Inbox for items you’ve sent, all because Google thought they knew best, and were arrogant enough to believe that their goal of providing a ‘threaded’ view to the e-mail exchanges you participate in was worth breaking all of those other existing fundamental features to achieve. Then there’s Google Chrome – the web browser that ignores what you’ve actually set as your homepage, and every so often instead randomly shows pages from your browsing history. You know, just in case you actually did want to inadvertently share your private religious beliefs, your research on embarrassing personal medical ailments, or bondage fetish with a new customer that you’re doing a presentation to for the first time.

As a software developer myself, I think it’s pretty obvious that Google is not at all good at design. Their designers and developers are way too egocentric, and simply don’t have enough concern for or awareness of users to be good at design. Other than their one good idea of providing a uncluttered interface all those years ago when their competitors were trying to put as much text as possible on their home pages, it’s all been downhill for Google in terms of good design. I don’t have to look far to find people on the internet complaining about exactly the same ‘features’ of Google’s software that I also find annoying and unhelpful. The sad thing is, other alternative search providers seem hell-bent on making the exact same mistakes as Google, or this would be a self-rectifying problem. Bing, for example, is just as bad at “including results for” things you didn’t actually search for in their results. If another search engine gets their act together before Google finally, belatedly, fires their more spammy marketers and aspergers-prone developers, Google will just be history.

In the meantime, here are some tips for making Google mildly usable again are:

1) Use Firefox, and download their ‘Yes Script’ Add-In. This allows you to easily disable javascript on any site you choose (including Google), thereby preventing animated Google Doodles from working. It also prevents Google Instant from trying to finish your sentences for you.

2) Download Adblock Plus and the Element Hiding Helper for Firefox. These allow you to easily hide the Google Doodles area of the Google homepage completely.

3) Download the Greasemonkey Add-In for Firefox, which allows you to use custom javascripts on any page you want. Then add this script: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/103507

This prevents Google from showing you search results that they would prefer, and returns the ‘old’ (and actually rather helpful) behaviour, whereby results for what you actually typed are returned, with links beneath the search box for any spelling suggestions that you may *choose* to use as a secondary option.

It’s sad that you have to go to all that trouble just to use a search engine. But clearly I’m not the only one spotting these problems, since there are so many third-party tools in existence that directly disable Google’s more irritating features. Maybe some up-and-coming search engine will manage to blow Google out of the water by simply doing *less* than they are attempting, and doing it well. I for one certainly hope that happens.


Fadi El-Eter

June 13th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for your comment Rachel.

I have to differ with you about Google Instant, in fact, I like it. When they first started using it I felt it was confusing, but now I feel that it really saves me a lot of time finding the results I want.



November 23rd, 2011 at 3:20 am

Wow, today marks a new low for Google Doodles. There seems to be a new one every other day now, and today’s is one of the worst – an interactive, animated tribute to mark the 60th anniversary of the first book published by some nobody called Stanislaw Lem.

The increasing frequency of “doodles” and decreasing poignance of their subject matter means the whole thing is getting very annoying to me now. I think I’m going to revert back to the Firefox Google homepage, which doesn’t incorporate these increasingly-elaborate and often irritating “doodles”.

Also, I agree with Rachel; Google Instant is incredibly annoying.


Fadi El-Eter

November 23rd, 2011 at 6:48 pm

These animated doodles are terrible. Very distracting. I remember once the doodle was actually a pacman game (it was the anniversary of pacman).

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