Google Patents Doodling!

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Richard Siegel, CEO of Internet technology provider Archbridge, Inc., shares Sherman's view: "For having been filed ten years ago, this is brilliant -- the idea that a logo can be exciting. It doesn't have to be a standard rubber stamp, but can instead be used as a way to enhance people's enjoyment of what they're viewing. This shows me Google was on the ball even back in 2001."

As to whether the technique is non-obvious: "The Patent Office had ten years to go over that carefully. I would defer to the patent examiner on that."

Author Ken Auletta, who covers media for the New Yorker, analyzed Google's co-founders and their corporate culture in his 2009 book "Googled: The End of the World as We Know It." He thinks the patent speaks volumes.

It's typical of Brin to have been sole inventor, says Auletta. "That Sergey would create a doddle and then patent it is not inconsistent. These two guys [Brin and co-founder Larry Page] aren't absentee landlords. They're personally involved in every detail. They like making jokes. There's a certain lightness about their approach, which is part of why they've been successful."

There were a lot of other search engines already on the scene in 1998, when Google came along. But Brin and Page "decided to have fun with the home page -- not to run any ads on it, just to have a little Doodle and some print."

By doing that, says Auletta, "They won the trust and good humor of searchers."

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