Balloons, presents, and a sparkly take on the YouTube play button adorn Google's homepage today in celebration of a milestone event: The company's twentieth birthday.
Although Google has evolved far beyond its search origins, it pays homage to its roots with an animated video that highlights some of the most popular searches from around the world over the past 20 years.
The queries read a bit like a condensed version of a history book: They reflect our collective fears ("what will happen on Y2K?"), desire for connection in an increasingly connected world ("translate 'love'"), and innate curiosity ("how does autotune work?"). They channel the debates that can divide a dinner table ("how do you pronounce gif?"), the Instagram-fueled trends we want in our lives ("how do you make avocado toast?"), and our yearning for a break from the news ("show me pictures of cute animals"). They remind us of a less narcissistic, pre-selfie era and the moments that briefly united the world (the Olympics; the royal wedding).
The doodle is a clever way of showing the role Google has come to play in the cultural zeitgeist — as a disseminator of information that shapes both what we know and how we know it — while also offering playful flashbacks. In true montage fashion, the celebratory video is likely to leave you feeling a bit more emotional than when you began.