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Behind the Scenes: What Went Into the Mother’s Day Google Doodle

May 12, 2019, 4:15 AM UTC

The Google Doodle team produces around 500 artistic iterations on the company’s logo per year. They honor holidays, notable historical figures, events, and more. In the nearly 21 years since Google began publishing Doodles, they’ve changed quite a bit.

“Initially, when the Doodles were on the home page, they were just a static image. And that’s all the bandwidth that people could afford,” says Jessica Yu, the Doodle team lead.

As technology has progressed, animated GIFs, multiplayer games, and even A.I.-enabled activities have entered the realm of possibilities. At the core of these more advanced Doodles is the principle of inclusivity. As Nate Swinehart, one of the staff artists the company calls Google Doodlers, began work on the first multiplayer game Doodle ever, he kept that in mind.

“We had to really craft an experience that was not going to exclude anyone,” Swinehart says. “And it was going to be enjoyable no matter the level of comfort with games, really celebrating connecting people.”

That spirit of accessibility inspired today’s Google Doodle. The Doodle team set out to use technology to solve the problem barring many from viewing animated GIF doodles properly: file size. The Mother’s Day Doodle this year is in “a much smaller and more compact format” to make sure that people with all levels of bandwidth can celebrate mothers with Google.

“It’s a huge responsibility representing these topics,” Swinehart says. “You want to do these amazing people justice.”