Google is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a Google Doodle honoring George Ferris, the creator of the original Ferris Wheel (and the source of its name). As previously reported, the doodle hit the other side of the world as it became February 14th over there, and has been rolling out to the rest of the world with the date change. Now we’re getting it here in the U.S.
This particular doodle is pretty smart in that it works on a couple of different levels. Not only is the Ferris Wheel often associated with dating (which fits in with the Valentine’s Day theme), but it is also George Ferris’ 154th birthday.
Google doodler Brian Kaas shares some background on the doodle here. “Romance and amusement parks often go hand in hand,” he says. “In many places a carnival, fair or circus is a popular destination for a thrilling and action-packed date. Coincidentally, George W.G. Ferris Jr., the creator of the Ferris Wheel was born on Valentine’s Day in 1859. This year seemed like a golden opportunity to combine our celebration of love with the birthday of the engineer whose mechanical invention has filled so many hearts with wonder.”
“Early in the process we decided on depicting a scene with two, side-by-side Ferris Wheels among a landscape of other amusement park rides,” he adds. “Then when two Ferris Wheel carts happened to stop across from each other we thought that was the perfect moment for two characters to have a love at first sight moment. We thought this would be the best way to highlight the Ferris Wheel in its natural habitat and provide a clever way to introduce some valentines to each other. Plus, we thought it would be fun to push a big button to generate a whole series of combinations.”
You should check out the the full explanation of the doodle if you get a chance. It provides some good insight into the doodle-making process.
Ferris himself was born in Galesburg in 1859, attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and died in Pittsburgh in 1896. He was only 37 years old. His original Ferris Wheel was created for the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition.
Today’s doodle is one of Google’s many interactive ones, and clicking the heart button will bring up different animal matches, followed by quick little picture stories showing these animals going out on various dates.
Here’s a video showing the doodle’s animation and the animal dating match-ups, courtesy of Simon Rüger:
Here’s a look at the full cast of animal characters from the doodle:
When you click the search icon on the doodle, it takes you to results for “George Ferris,” and highlights Google’s Knowledge Graph panel, showing information about him. According to the Knowledge Graph, people who search for George Ferris also search for Washington Roebling, H.H. Holmes, LaMarcus Adna Thompson, and Daniel Burnham. If you’re not looking for this particular George Ferris, the Knowledge Graph also gives you the option of seeing results for George Ferris the Cricketer (one of the most helpful features of the Knowledge Graph, which Google launched last year).
Yesterday, Google ran a doodle in Russia celebrating the life of Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin.
Check out some more of Google’s recent home page doodles here. If you’re not monitoring Google’s many international homepages, you might have missed some.