I started writing this post about a month ago on my birthday (thanks to everyone who sent me a card or present), but somehow I never finished it, and it ended up banished to the drafts folder. Anyway....
Rarely does a day go past when I don't do a Google search for something or other. And even though today is my birthday it isn't one of those rare none Google days. I usually search Google directly from the address bar in Firefox so rarely see the main search page, but I do keep an eye on the top left corner of the result pages for interesting doodles (you can browse past doodles if you don't know what I'm talking about) -- I wouldn't want to miss a doodle as good as the PAC-MAN one for instance. Anyway, I noticed that there was a doodle today so I went to the main search page to see a larger version and find out what it was about. Bizarrely though the doodle on the main page didn't match the one on the results page.
On the left is the doodle from the result page, and on the right is the doodle from the home page. Clearly they aren't the same. Often the reason for a doodle is obvious from the doodle itself, but if you hover the mouse over the doodle on the home page you'll get a tooltip explaining the occasion. So imagine my surprise when I hovered over the doodle and saw that the tooltip read Happy Birthday Mark!
The explanation was, of course, obvious; I was logged into my Google account which, since I signed up for Google+, includes my birthday. Now I'm not one of the people who are overly worried about the amount of information Google knows about me, and I'd freely made the decision to include my birthday in my profile, but still I was rather surprised that they would use that information to show me a birthday doodle.
Oh and if you were wondering the actual doodle for today, that everyone else saw, was to celebrate Maria Montessori's 142nd birthday.