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The Story Behind The Valentine’s Day Google Doodle

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The Google Valentine's Day Doodle. (Credit: Google)

The Google Valentine’s Day Doodle. (Credit: Google)

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Millions of people, probably searching for something other than love in Chicago, went to Google on this Valentine’s Day.

When they landed there, they saw those iconic heart-shaped Valentine’s candies that fill every school kid’s V-Day goodie bag.

Each one had that familiar pink-lettered phrasing: messages like “puppy love” or “crush.” Click on a candy and a love story plays, illustrated at key moments by lovely animated drawings.

The story of how it came together is a bit of an accident, which developed into a unique collaboration between older technology and new.

Ira Glass of “This American Life” was visiting the Google complex one day, and happened upon a group of Google Doodlers, including “Head Doodler” Ryan Germick and fellow “Doodler” Jennifer Hom.

“He was meeting us for fun, I guess,” says illustrator Jennifer Hom. “I’m not even sure why he was here.”

Glass told them he was interested in working with them on a Valentine’s Day doodle.

Glass provided eight or 10 archived radio interviews about love, including eighth-grade puppy love and even one about “second thoughts.”

The stories “were all really sweet,” Hom said.

Hom and Germick drew a series of drawings with bullet points to match where they should appear with the audio.

The key to a Doodle is the collaboration between art and tech. Often, the artists create something too complex for programmers to replicate.

Sometimes the artists are too conservative, and the programmers push them to do more elaborate designs.

The result was one of the more memorable Doodles since Google’s founders created the first one about 16 years ago.

Over the years, the Doodle has morphed from static images to more complex animated scenes. Many have been known to kill office productivity.

Here is the video showing how the work got done:

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