Google has started a tradition of honoring special events with a new doodle, and now uses this feature to improve the personal experience of each user: a special Happy Birthday doodle is displayed on your Google home page on your birthday! In order to see it, you have to be logged into your account, and to have filled in your details on the profile page. It’s a nice way to start this special day, and to receive congratulations even before your friends start calling. When you hover with your mouse over the image you’ll see a message saying “Happy Birthday, (your name)!”, and, if you click, you’ll be taken to your Google Plus profile.
Of course, Google did not do that simply for the fun of it – this is also a pretty good method to encourage you to fill in more details in your profile, thus allowing the company to collect better demographic data. It may also help promote Google Plus more among people who are frequent users of the search engine, but not of the other features provided by Google. All in all, though, it’s pretty harmless, simply making your browser festive for one day (a very simple way of reminding your co-workers of your birthday, in case they’ve forgotten, is to call them to your computer and then open the Google home page… shame on them, if Google could remember, why couldn’t they?).
Google’s approach is by far the most enjoyable I’ve seen so far. One of its main competitors greeted me one day with the following message on their homepage: “Did you know that 6 million people share the same birthday with you?” Great way to make me feel special… and to make me switch to Google. It goes to prove how a very simple trick can have a great marketing impact for the company, as people are talking about this new Happy Birthday doodle, giving it positive feedback. And in fact, there’s nothing negative to say about it – so it seems Google has come up with a new winner. It’s also a small step towards a more personalized web browsing experience, which is clearly what we all need to survive the constant influx of information available on the Internet today.