Google strums a surprise note with virtual guitar

Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 09, 2011



Spent the day strumming a guitar at office? But then who can blame you? Google's innovative tribute to legendary electric-guitar inventor Les Paul was simply irresistible.

With childlike glee netizens strummed on the playable doodle on Google's homepage. The doodle was in the shape of a virtual guitar on which users could play live notes by moving the mouse over the strings. In the US, users could even record a 30-second track and share it.

A lot of musical notes were heard across offices, and there was a virtual chorus of excited tweets and Facebook messages adding to the medley. Tweets like “I always enjoy Google doodles — but today is one of the coolest”, or Facebook posts like “lovely Google doodle today” trended on social-networking sites.


For the record, the doodle is a homage to the original guitar hero, Les Paul, on his 96th birthday — he died in August 2009. An American jazz and country guitarist, Les Paul pioneered the invention of the modern electric guitar, an instrument he created to compete with some of the louder instruments that would often drown out the classic guitar.

The doodle was created with a combination of JavaScript, HTML5 Canvas (used in modern browsers to draw the guitar strings), CSS, Flash (for sound) and tools like the Google Font API, and App Engine.

“This is part of our ongoing effort to treat the homepage as a fun and surprising creative platform for our users. Google often honours luminaries in scientific, political, literary, and artistic communities, and we felt celebrating Les Paul was an important way to honour innovations in music community,” the company said.

Memorable doodles

In the past, other memorable doodles have been tributes to Charlie Chaplin, Martha Graham and John Lennon (on his 70th birthday). But the biggest hit to date was one that marked 30 years of Pac-Man. That day office-goers turned into ardent gamers — it reportedly generated more than five million playing-hours on the doodle alone. So much so that Google had to create a permanent page for it. You can still see it on

Published on June 09, 2011
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