The Google Logo, H. G. Wells’ Birthday and the War of the Worlds Invasion Site

goog_e

UPDATE: For an update, check out my follow-up post: Google Crop Circle Doodle: A Celebration of Vector Graphics and H. G. Wells’ Birthday?

OK, so now I’m hooked. This evening, the Google logo changed into a doodle of a crop circle (above). This may seem a little innocuous, after all, Google is always jazzing up their logo with celebratory bits of art. But what did this resemble?

For starters, this isn’t the first time this has happened. A couple of weeks ago, another mini brain-teaser was posted with a flying saucer “beaming up” one of the “o”s in Google. CNET blogger Chris Matyszczyk managed to follow the clues and deduced that the missing “o” could be found in the numerical clue of one of @Google’s tweets. The numbers related to letters in the alphabet and spelled out, “All your O are belong to us.” This was in reference to the classic game Zero Wing (creator of the now famous gamer war cry “All your base are belong to us). It was the computer game’s 20th anniversary.

The logo was explained, the missing “o” was explained and it all related to an event (i.e. the Zero Wing anniversary).

So now we are presented with another conundrum. What does it mean? We have crop circles (linking to the search query “crop circles“, thanks @astrobio74 for pointing that out), a missing “l” in “Google” this time…. and a tweet from @Google with the map co-ordinates: 51.327629, -0.5616088.

Typing the longitude and latitude into Google Maps takes us to a location in Woking, Surrey, UK. The exact address is on Woodham Road in a village/town called Horsell.

Doing a search for the exact address and digging around the houses turned up precious little, until I typed in “Horsell” into Google. In the results is Horsell’s Wikipedia page. Horsell was made famous as being the place where Martians invaded in H. G. Wells’ classic sci-fi novel, War of the Worlds.

Jumping over to the War of the Worlds Wikipedia page, more information unfolds:

Much of the The War of the Worlds takes place around Woking and nearby suburbs. The initial landing site of the Martian invasion force, Horsell Common, was an open area close to Wells’ home. In the preface to the Atlantic edition of the novel, he wrote of his pleasure in riding a bicycle around the area, and imagining the destruction of cottages and houses he saw, by the Martian heat-ray or the red weed.

Great, so I’m almost 100% certain this little Google treasure hunt is pointing to War of the Worlds in some way. But why would Google pick today to do this?

A little more digging into H. G. Wells himself points to a possible answer (although I’m not totally convinced this is the sole reason). Next Monday marks the 143rd birthday of H. G. Wells (on 21 September, 1866). 143 years doesn’t strike me as a significant number, but the trail seems to lead here.

I’m now trying to work out where the “l” in “Google” fits into all this…

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14 responses to “The Google Logo, H. G. Wells’ Birthday and the War of the Worlds Invasion Site

    • It's a rather faint “l” being made by that little combine harvester… and in keeping with the missing letters theme, I suspect the “l” has something to do with it. It might not though… it might just be about H. G. Wells' birthday…

  1. All very strange. They usually do it on the actual day, not days before. And why a crop circle and not, say, a time machine?Is there not some crop circle anniversary today?

  2. I think everyone is reading too much into this. The first one was the 20th Anniversary of the release of the arcade game Zero Wing (which had the poorly translated quote “All your base are belong to us.” Google's clue was “All your o's are belong to us.”Today's clue is co-ordinates that only have significance in their relation to War of the Worlds. Today is also what appears to be the 30th anniversary of the release of the War of the World Arcade game (the original monochrome version, not the 1983 color version). This “might” all be leading up to something, but in the end, I suspect it's more just Google having fun with their computer/sci-fi/video gamer market by making their little “anniversary” logos a bit more mysterious. Based upon the time of year (September and October are historically big months for video game releases so everything can get in the stores/arcades before Christmas) so I would be looking for more of these over the coming weeks – all having to do with Sci-Fi/Alien themed video games and all having a nice even anniversary mark (i.e. a 10th, 20th, 25th, etc.)

  3. It's a rather faint “l” being made by that little combine harvester… and in keeping with the missing letters theme, I suspect the “l” has something to do with it. Also, the filename of the logo is: goog_e.gif — the “l” has been removed. It's definitely not supposed to be there.

  4. Pingback: ミステリーサークル @ Google | Core Life Burns

  5. Pingback: Waarom had Google een graancirkel-logo? | Astroblogs

  6. All very strange. They usually do it on the actual day, not days before. And why a crop circle and not, say, a time machine?Is there not some crop circle anniversary today?

  7. I think everyone is reading too much into this. The first one was the 20th Anniversary of the release of the arcade game Zero Wing (which had the poorly translated quote “All your base are belong to us.” Google's clue was “All your o's are belong to us.”Today's clue is co-ordinates that only have significance in their relation to War of the Worlds. Today is also what appears to be the 30th anniversary of the release of the War of the World Arcade game (the original monochrome version, not the 1983 color version). This “might” all be leading up to something, but in the end, I suspect it's more just Google having fun with their computer/sci-fi/video gamer market by making their little “anniversary” logos a bit more mysterious. Based upon the time of year (September and October are historically big months for video game releases so everything can get in the stores/arcades before Christmas) so I would be looking for more of these over the coming weeks – all having to do with Sci-Fi/Alien themed video games and all having a nice even anniversary mark (i.e. a 10th, 20th, 25th, etc.)

  8. Pingback: Google Crop Circle Doodle: A Celebration of Vector Graphics and H. G. Wells’ Birthday? | Astroengine.com

  9. Pingback: Googlunacy | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

  10. Pingback: War of the Worlds Google Doodle Celebrates H.G. Wells’ Birthday | Astroengine.com

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