Updated April 30, 2020
Sometimes we search the web with voice and through Siri; other times we just type a term into our browser's address bar—both are convenient!
Sometimes, believe it or not, we still go directly to Google and search as it was first intended when the capability launched 20+ years ago.
(Or, if you're like me, you have Google set to your default homepage in order to kick each morning off with their "I'm feeling lucky" feature; where today I learned that our stomachs growl when hungry because of the air pockets created when empty stomachs contract.)
Either way, if you ever happen across Google.com throughout your day, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that Google has re-launched their popular Doodle games, where their logo, when clicked, directs searchers to a fun game they can play right then and there through their browsers.
Every day over the next couple of weeks, you’ll get to relive Google Doodle classics like Pac-Man and other clickable entertainment, or perhaps you’ll be experiencing them for the first time.
Today’s classic is coding related, and it looks like tomorrow is Cricket! I’ll try and keep this post updated with the ins and outs of each as they’re released, along with a glimpse into how to play, why you should, and maybe even a few of my high-scores (if I’m lucky enough to achieve such greatness.)
Google Doodle 4/27: Kids & Coding!
As mentioned, today (4/27/2020) you and your kids can join in the fun with something very near and dear to all of us here at iD Tech—coding! This particular Doodle was originally released in December 2017 to commemorate 50 years of kids coding.
By bringing together the Google Doodle team, Google Blockly team, and MIT Scratch researchers, the Doodle game allows users to help a rabbit hop to its coveted carrots over six different levels with the utilization of block-based coding.
Why is this Doodle important?
Simply, coding is extremely relevant, has been a hot topic for what seems like forever, and is still gaining momentum to this very day.
When you think about all that coding does and powers in the world around us, the list is impressive—and it’s hard to imagine life without it all.
Some go as far as saying “every kid should code” and others counter and say that early exposure to coding isn't necessary. The reality is, some kids will love coding, others won’t, some of them kind of will, etc.
Meaning, there isn’t any way of knowing if coding is right for your child unless it’s given a shot, and who knows, kids could very well end up finding a fun, lucrative and overall great career in coding when all is said and done.
Coding is new and different to every kid. Some will find a more natural connection, but others will struggle, and might even let preconceived thoughts keep them away.
If you find your child as part of the latter, do what you can to connect coding to those things your child already knows and enjoys—video games, apps, social media, robotics, and more...coding plays a big part in all of it. Even those interested in soccer, band, and tennis can find a connection to tech.
Which brings us to block-based, drag-and-drop coding, and the value it holds in teaching coding to kids.
Kids know colors, cartoons, fun shapes, puzzles, sound effects, music, and gamification. So, if you sit them down and try to get them revved up and excited by unloading a dictionary of coding terms on them, it might not go well.
On the other hand, using this Doodle as an example, this visual coding activity hardly resembles traditional coding, and in the case of a beginner, that is probably a very good thing. With it, learning to code - or at least learning the core concepts - is more of a fun game than it is a homework assignment.
Like Scratch does, this particular Google Doodle introduces coding through colorful drag-and-drop visuals, which is more engaging for beginners, and less intimidating when compared to traditional text-based coding.
By the end, users will have moved their rabbits forwards, while incorporating turns, and being introduced to loops, which run the same code over and again, multiple times.
Of course, this all depends on age and skill level; teens might actually prefer something more curriculum-based and rooted in the differences of coding languages and how each can be used to create real-world solutions.
Google Doodle 4/28: Cricket
I'm a huge baseball fan; it might be the thing that consumes most of my free time in some capacity, outside of my family.
So, naturally, you'd think I'd have some cricket knowledge? I mean, there is a ball that's thrown, and that ball is batted, only instead of being pitched by a pitcher in baseball, it's coming from a bowler in cricket (batting is batting in both sports.)
But, I was "today years old" when I actually started to grasp the rules of cricket, or at least the basic point of the game, and how to score.
My teacher? This awesome Google Doodle!
Originally released to commemorate the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, the Cricket-playing, well, crickets battles a team of snails, with the crickets doing their best to score as many runs as possible before making an out.
In true Google fashion, a goal was to make sure this particular Doodle functions well for all, regardless of mobile network speed. So, this Doodle is actually the smallest interactive Doodle ever!
Learn more here, including test animation samples, and an interactive map showing the Doodle's reach.
And no big deal—100 is my high score.
Google Doodle 4/29: Fischinger
While films bursting with motion graphics and captivating animation might not raise more than the normal eyebrow of today's world, imagine putting something like this together without the use of computers?
Today's Google Doodle is celebrating the birthday of Oskar Fischinger, who is touted as an "abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter," but impressively heralded for his work in creating abstract musical animation before computer graphics and music videos were "things."
(You can see a film-flip book to the right, which is courtesy of Angie Fischinger, and hosted here on Google's explanation of today's Doodle.)
So, speaking of today's Doodle...you really just have to see it for yourself. And, be prepared to spend more time than you probably should visually composing your own song!
Google Doodle 4/30: Clara Rockmore
The theremin might be the most technologically-advanced musical instrument you've never heard of. And that's because it was ahead of its time way back in the 1920s.
Making music from "thin air," Clara Rockmore took on the gesture-controlled instrument after becoming physically unable to play the violin she was trained to master at a young age.
So, today's Google Doodle celebrates Clara Rockmore's 105th birthday, and offers all of us the chance to have our movements translated into a beautiful melody.