Web

Here's how the Google logo has changed over the last 20 years

Google Search
The colorful Google colorful logo is one of the most recognizable pieces of branding on the internet — but it’s gone through some big changes over the last two decades.

While the company found the basic concept for its logo fairly quickly, the design has been iterated upon several times. Here’s a look back.

Humble Beginnings

The very first version of the Google logo was never going to win any design awards. Seemingly created using Microsoft Word, it’s a real reminder of just how ugly the early internet could be.

history of the google logo 1997
Google

In its defense, this logo was only put in place while the search engine was still a research project carried out by  Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. Once the pair decided to launch Google officially, Brin whipped up a better design himself using the popular open-source image editing package GIMP.

history of the google logo 1998
Google

As you can see, several elements of the now-familiar design are already in place. The color order is a little different, but that would be amended in a new version that was used from October 1998 onward.

history of the google logo  1998
Google

This iteration uses the Baskerville Bold typeface, like its predecessor, but tweaks the 3D effect on the lettering, and adds an exclamation point — a response to Yahoo’s similar branding at that time, according to a report from Gizmodo.

While it’s long since been replaced as Google’s primary branding, this logo is actually still in use. If you travel back in time by searching for ‘Google in 1998,’ you’ll see it featured as part of a special throwback interface.

Intelligent Design

As Google grew in notoriety, the decision was made to upgrade its branding. Page and Brin decided to call upon the services of designer Ruth Kedar, who made her name creating widely lauded sets of playing cards, and by the late 1990s she was installed as a member of the art faculty at Stanford.

Kedar produced a number of different concepts for the new version of the logo. Many of them used imagery to express core components of the Google experience, like a target to evoke its precision, or a magnifying glass to make sure it was obvious that it was a search engine.

history of the google logo concepts
Google

These designs show things falling into place. The basic color scheme is there, albeit with some minor edits. The top two examples even use Catull, the typeface that would be used in the logo for over a decade.

Of course, none of the logos above made the cut. The company decided that adding too much visual flair would ultimately turn out to be restrictive. “This is where we started simplifying,” Kedar explained in a 2008 interview with Wired. “The idea was, ‘Can we create the sense of playfulness without having recognizable or identifiable objects that are going to end up limiting us?'”

history of the google logo 1999
Google
Google

Above, you can see the design that was selected. It was in use from May 31, 1999, to May 5, 2010 — the company’s longest serving logo to this day. This was the branding that carried Google to the top of the search engine market, but the changing face of the internet eventually forced the company to change its long-standing look.

Going flat

In the past decade, we’ve seen all kinds of companies replace detailed logos with newer iterations based around flat blocks of color. Google can count itself among that number, but its transition took place in two distinct stages.

history of the google logo 2013
Google
Google

After changing to brighter colors and a more subdued shadow effect in 2010, Google made big changes to its branding in 2013. The 3D effect on the lettering was completely eliminated, and some minor typographic changes were made — note the tweak made to the way the straight line meets the curve on the ‘e’.

This iteration would turn out to be a relatively minor revision, however, compared to what was coming two years later; a brand new typeface.

history of the google logo 2015
Google
Google

Google created this font, which is called Product Sans, in-house. It highlights the lack of shadow and the high contrast of colors in the logo, while also providing a more modern font appearance that doesn’t look like something that might be cranked out with a typewriter. This has become the Silicon Valley trend, used by everyone from Microsoft to Motorola.

A slightly amended version is also used in the logo for its parent company, Alphabet.

history of the google logo alphabet 2015
Google
Google

The latest Google logo maintains the visual identity of its predecessor, but the new typeface makes it look more modern. Its accompanied by a version of the stylized ‘G’ character that’s used for app icons and the like.

history of the google logo icon
Google
Google

What’s next for Google’s branding? Only time will tell. But if there’s one thing that we can learn from the changes made to its logo over the last twenty years, it’s that the company isn’t afraid to tweak things to keep up with the times.

Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Computing

Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.
Web

Google Translate updated to reduce gender bias in its translations

Google is changing how Google Translate offers translations. Previously when you entered a word like doctor, Translate would offer a masculine interpretation of the word. Now, Translate will offer both masculine and feminine versions.
Web

Encryption-busting law passed in Australia may have global privacy implications

Controversial laws have been passed in Australia which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption with potentially global effects.
Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Computing

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Mobile

5G: Why everything is about to change

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.