Guitar Chords: Google Logo is Guitar Tuner in Honor of Les Paul

PHOTO: Google launched a playable Doodle honoring guitar legend Les Pauls 96th birthday, June 9, 2011.
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Guitar chords, eh? The Google homepage logo this morning doesn't look much like the word "Google," but no matter. The Google Doodle today is a stylized guitar in honor of Les Paul, the legendary musician who would have turned 96 today.

And it's playable. Turn up the sound on your computer, move your mouse over the logo, and enjoy the results. You can even record what you play. Click on the black button near the bottom right corner of the logo, strum for up to 30 seconds, and click again. Google will reply with a short URL, or Web address. You can copy that and email it to your friends.

Les Paul -- to say nothing of your friends -- might cover his ears at the cacophony that's been created today. But that's the fun of it. Out of respect for your neighbors, and perhaps your office mates, you may want to keep your computer's volume low.

Click here for a slide show of Google's Doodles.

If you click on the logo, you'll learn that Paul (1915-2009), born in Waukesha, Wis., pioneered the solid-bodied electric guitar, making the sound of modern rock music possible. He married, and performed with, the singer Mary Ford starting in 1949; they divorced in 1963. Paul continued to give concerts until a few weeks before he died of pneumonia at age 94.

Google regularly alters its logo to mark anniversaries, major events or birthdays of notable figures, or sometimes just to be quirky. The so-called Google Doodles have become more ambitious over time; one Friday in April its logo turned out to be a playable version of Pac-Man, the iconic 1980s arcade game.

Even though the doodles are a small part of Google's very big business -- it only has half a dozen artists to do them -- it takes the doodles seriously. In March the firm went so far as to patent them. The U.S. Patent Office awarded Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder and head of technology with Patent # 7,912, 915 for what's known as the doodle.

How to mark Thomas Edison's birthday? The letters that make up "Google" may be formed out of little light bulbs or other Edison inventions. There might be animation. If you click on the word Google, you might hear Edison's voice. The whole thing is considered a Doodle.

It's this method for "enticing" (Google's word) users to its site that the company patented.

Marie Conroy of San Francisco, an inveterate searcher, said she especially liked one celebrating John Lennon's birthday (a drawing that drew itself and evolved as the viewer watched), and another in honor of cartoonist Rube Goldberg (a whimsical machine that on every viewing grew more and more complicated).

But today is Les Paul's day. Strum away.

ABC News' Alan Farnham contributed reporting for this story.

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