Google Doodle Lets Users Play Moog Synthesizer

Google's doodles take a step forward in complexity as the company honors the man who created the analog Moog synthesizer.

Google users are by now no stranger to the company€™s inventive, whimsical and increasingly complex €œdoodles,€ a design that replaces the company€™s logo on the search engine home page. However, the latest doodle, in honor of Dr. Robert Arthur Moog, creator of the analog synthesizers that bear his name, raises the level of interaction in a way Google users have never before experienced.

The doodle, a highly detailed, interactive, playable logo with keyboard and knobs placed above (which form the letters €œGOOG€), is in honor of what would have been Moog€™s 78th birthday. The electronic music pioneer died August 21, 2005.

The musically inclined or merely curious can use a mouse or computer keyboard to control the mini-synthesizer€™s keys and knobs, which control three oscillators with various frequency, range, waveform and other controls, including a modulation wheel. Users also have the ability to record and play back their tracks and share their creations via Google+, the company€™s social networking platform.

Moog€™s synthesizers were developed in the 1950s but rose to greater prominence after use in the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival. A wide range of artists used the synthesizers to give their music a unique, futuristic yet warm sound, including The Rolling Stones, Kraftwerk, The Beatles, David Bowie and Italian producer-composer Giorgio Moroder, who used the Moog€™s sounds to propel disco music into a new sonic landscape by incorporating it in the 1975 Donna Summer hit "Love to Love You Baby."

The doodle€”like the Moog synthesizer€”uses several individual components to create the sound, including the HTML5 Web Audio API when used with Google€™s Chrome Web browser€”a doodle first. The doodle also takes advantage of JavaScript, Closure libraries, CSS3 and tools like Google Web Fonts, the Google+ API, the Google URL Shortener and App Engine, according to a company blog post.

€œMuch like the musical machines Bob Moog created, this doodle was synthesized from a number of smaller components to form a unique instrument. With his passion for high-tech tool making in the service of creativity, Bob Moog is something of a patron saint of the nerdy arts and a hero to many of us here," Google software engineer Joey Hurst explained in the blog post. €œNow give those knobs a spin and compose a tune that would make Dr. Moog smile!€

Almost two years ago to the day, Google unveiled its first interactive doodle to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pac-Man arcade game, with a course designed to spell out the company€™s name. Google€™s first Doodle was in honor of the Burning Man Festival of 1998, and has subsequently been used to honor artists (Andy Warhol and Edvard Munch among them), holidays and other offbeat, but noteworthy, days and events of remembrance. The Doodles also have a global bent, such as when Google Thailand replaced the €œG€ in the logo with an elephant to celebrate National Elephant Day or Google Hungary, with the logo to celebrate the anniversary of Hungary's 1848 revolution on March 15.