Google's new logo: What it really means
Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
I’ve never been the same since I sat in a meeting and someone from a design company explained to me that green is the color of reading.
Ever since then, I’ve continued to admire the skillful work of brilliant designers while being ever more suspicious of the bullaloony that accompanies it.
Today Alphabet-subsidiary Google launched a new sans serif logo that looks perfectly pretty and modern to me. And the little blue “g” icon is gone too. It’s been replaced by a semi-rainbow.
But it’s the explanation that Google offered along with the changes that makes me don my cogitation cap and consider all the nuances.
In a blog post, the company offered: “You expect Google to help you whenever and wherever you need it, whether it’s on your mobile phone, TV, watch, the dashboard in your car, and yes, even a desktop!”
Yes! Even on a desktop!
Ergo: “Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought that Google’s magic has been working for me all the time.
It works to tell me what I need to know. It works to read my e-mails, so that it can “improve” the advertising to which I’m subjected. It follows me from the moment I wake up to the time I slump back into bed. Does it take some new icons to tell me this?
Yes! It does!
In Google’s words: The new look “doesn’t simply tell you that you’re using Google, but also shows you how Google is working for you. For example, new elements like a colorful Google mic help you identify and interact with Google whether you’re talking, tapping or typing.”
I know when I’m interacting with Google already. What I’m less sure of is when Google is interacting with me. I find myself occasionally looking over my shoulder wondering if Google is behind me. I worry that when I shout at my laptop or even my TV, Google might be listening to me. I also sometimes get a strange feeling beneath the table when I’m out to dinner. Will a little icon warn me about that too?
At heart what does this new logo represent? The deeply cynical might suggest that it’s a small, appeasing feel-good element for those who now work for mere Google as opposed to the slightly sexier Alphabet.
It’s certainly a pleasant, cheery touch-up to a logo that was beginning to feel more than a touch dated. Companies go through these cycles, like a middle-aged man updating his Levi’s or buying a shinier Ford truck.
Google’s interpretations of this logo, though, are magical — in the sense of culled from a fine children’s book.
The comments on Google’s blog post have run into the thousands. Many are complimentary. They tend to simply say whether they like it or not, which is exactly as it should be. Does it evoke a warm feeling? Does it feel a touch renewed?
Then there’s Christopher Lira: “Meh, I’ll be impressed when y’all finally change it to Skynet and become self aware.”
Design, just like magic, doesn’t impress everyone.
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