One thing is clear, there are two Pandas in Google's doodle for Earth Day today. Whether that is an intentional reference to the recent Panda algorithm update is debatable. There are two of them, and there have been two roll-outs of the Panda update - one in the U.S. and then one globally (in English).
Of course there are other animals that appear in the doodle - a lion, a couple of penguins, a koala bear, a brown bear, a frog, a red bird, and a fish (which gets eaten by the bear).
It's a cool doodle. It's another animated one (which they seem to be making a lot of lately). When you mouse over the Pandas they either get tickled or have fits (not unlike webmasters after the update).
For those of you who haven't been following, the Panda update was Google's attempt to crack down on low quality content appearing in search results. Many have applauded the move, but there have been plenty of complaints from webmasters who saw their sites slide in rankings. That's obvious of course, but we've seen some questionable examples.
Some publishers feel that their entire sites (including good content) are being devalued because of some of the lower quality content on their sites. Sites like eHow, EzineArticles, HubPages are trying to substantially increase content quality by making changes to their design, and editorial policies. HubPages just announced it is cracking down on affiliate links, for example.
It's possible that the Pandas in the doodle have nothing to do with the Panda update. But come on. Out of all of the animals on the Earth, it seems like a pretty big coincidence that two of them would make their way into a Google doodle, so soon after the much talked about algorithm update. At least one Googler (a Search Quality Analyst, at that) has pointed out the connection:
There are two Pandas in Google's logo today :^)