Reacting to criticism that it ran a logo honoring the 86th birthday of farm worker activist Cesar Chavez rather than Easter, Google has announced a new “rounded number” policy for when it will make logos for special events.
Google is well known for the special “Doodles” or custom logos it creates to recognize birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. Yesterday, on Easter, it ran a logo not recognizing that holiday but instead in honor of labor activist Cesar Chavez.
That drew some criticisms, despite the fact that Google hasn’t had an Easter logo since 2000, and in part, because some mistakenly believed that Google was instead honoring Hugo Chavez, the often-controversial former president of Venezuela, who died last month.
Google initially explained to the Washington Post:
We enjoy celebrating holidays at Google but, as you may imagine, it’s difficult for us to choose which events to highlight on our site …. sometimes for a given date, we feature an historical event or influential figure that we haven’t in the past.
But the company said today, on April 1st, that it felt it was time to become more organized. From a spokesperson:
We’ve been aware that the seemingly random nature of when we choose to recognize something is causing issues. The 61st birthday of Douglas Adams, rather than the 60th or 50th? The 154th birthday of the Ferris Wheel creator? The 197th birthday of Ada Lovelace? The 46th anniversary of the first broadcast of Star Trek? We can do better.
In particular, Google said it will begin using what it calls a “rounded number” policy for recognizing anniversaries, where it will honor events only when they are “rounded” to a significant figure. For example, it wouldn’t recognize the 147th birthday of a famous person, choosing instead to wait until a rounded 150th birthday figure.
There’s no set number that will be rounded to, but Google did say you can expect to see more anniversaries that are clean multiples of 5, 10, 25 or 100. Said the spokesperson:
Given the number of geniuses we employ, we’re sure we can develop rounding technology to assist us with this.
Google had planned to run a special logo in honor of today’s move to the rounded policy, but given this is the 747th anniversary of April’s Fool, it decided to wait until the more rounded figure of 750 rolls around.
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