Google Watch

The latest news bites emanating from the Googleplex.

Google Names Its 'Doodle 4 Google' Contest Winners

An 11-year-old girl from New York wins first prize for her imaginative Google doodle in the annual contest, which has been around since 2008.

Google logo

The 2014 Google "Doodle 4 Google" contest has been won by an 11-year-old New York girl who used her imagination to fulfill the contest's theme—creating an invention that would make the world a better place.

Audrey Zhang's winning entry, a colorful and detailed doodle of a "transformative water purifier" that could potentially clean polluted water and make it safe for drinking by people and animals, was selected by Google's judges out of more than 100,000 entries from K-12 students across the United States. The winners of the seventh annual contest were unveiled in a June 9 post by Google's Liat Ben-Rafael on the Google Official Blog.

Zhang's winning entry is a menagerie of colors, shapes, animals and flora, all centering around her drawing of her amazing and innovative water purifier.

"We quickly lost count of all the delightful elements of Audrey's doodle," wrote Ben-Rafael. "So in the spirit of this year's theme, we asked Audrey to spend a day with the doodlers to turn her illustration into a moving animation. As an animator and director for a day, she made sure we twinkled each light and cleaned the water just right and took extra care for the illustration's dragons—about whom she is also writing a novel."

Zhang earned a $30,000 college scholarship for her winning entry, while her school, Island Trees Memorial Middle School, gets a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant, wrote Ben-Rafael. Google was so inspired by her doodle invention that also donated $20,000 in her name to a charity that helps provide clean water to schools in Bangladesh.

Other winners include the grades K-3 winner, Charles Seagle of Mokulele Elementary School in Hawaii, for his entry, "My Time Machine"; the grades 6-7 winner, Emi R. Olin of Alexander High School in Ohio, for the entry, "Nature's Cure"; the grades 8-9 winner, Renaise Kim of Lake Washington High School in Washington, for the entry, "Brighter World through Binoculars"; and the grades 10-12 winner, Amy Carlson of Burlington High School in Iowa, for her entry, "Ideatriever."

The entries of the 50 state winners can be viewed in this gallery while the entries of the 250 state finalists can be viewed on Google+.

For winning the contest, Zhang's entry was displayed on Google's home page on June 9. The contest is sponsored by Google annually to encourage K-12 students to create spectacular doodles where they can dream big.

Home page doodles have been a staple of Google's search page since the company's start in 1998. This year's contest had a new perk—for the first time ever, the winner of the competition was made an honorary Google Doodler for a day and was able to animate her Doodle for the homepage with the Doodle team.