This weekend was the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe, but you wouldn't know it from reading Google. Google chose to use its frequently changing logo to honor the 25th anniversary of the video game Tetris instead of the brave men and women who stormed the beach at Normandy.
As you might expect, a certain subset of political blogs took issue with Google's choices.
"This is no departure for Google, a firm that finds it nearly impossible to post images celebrating any American holidays or important milestones in American history. So, what we have here is just one more example of Google's essentially anti-American policies."
World Net Daily said:
"Google's decision to honor Tetris rather than D-Day, however, is only the latest in a string of criticized decisions about how the Internet giant uses its homepage 'doodles' to recognize special occasions... Google has a history of ignoring major American patriotic and religious holidays, while honoring Remembrance Day in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Halloween and other observances."
Some guy named Don Surber said:
"By recognizing the 25th anniversary of Tetris. Its owners may be multi-billionaires but homeless guys show more class."
Google's official response:
"Special logos tend to be lighthearted and often scientific in nature.... We do not believe we can convey the appropriate somber tone through this medium to mark holidays like Memorial Day."
Here's my take on it: Google obviously can't commemorate everything that has ever happened in its logo. In the past, Google honored broad American patriotic holidays like Veteran's Day and July 4th, but when it comes to anniversaries of specific battles in American history, days that aren't National Holidays, Google hasn't marked them. That's Google's prerogative.
As for why they made that decision, it seems pretty clear to me that choosing Tetris over D-Day isn't a dig at D-Day. Anyone who turned on a TV or opened the paper this weekend would already know it was the anniversary of D-Day, but who knew it was the anniversary of Tetris? That's the kind of quirky, fun thing that Google usually alters its logo for, and you can't blame them for keeping things light-hearted. After all, it's just a search engine, not an official arm of the government or the culture.
While Google is an American company, its reach is worldwide, so picking specific, patriotic, American events to commemorate would likely alienate some people in other countries... unless Google commemorated events that are important to each country it serves, which brings me back full circle: Google can't commemorate everything that has ever happened, so they get to pick.
What do you think? Does Google owe it to its readers to commemorate D-Day? Or are people complaining about something trivial because they don't have anything better to do?