Google is an internet institution and one of the largest companies in the world, so when news breaks that it has changed its logo, it is big. There is only one problem: no one can figure out what the change was. Google unveiled its new logo a few days ago and no one noticed. Then some detail oriented webizen (that is “web citizen” for normal people) noticed the minutest change possible. The second “g” and the “l” were moved by just a pixel. Yes, the new Google logo looks exactly the same as the old Google logo. Except not.
A side by side comparison of the two logos reveals absolutely nothing. It is only when they are compiled in gif form that the movement clues the eye into any change. Without the movement of a gif, there is basically no difference between them. However, the change was necessary only because of a thing called kerning, which most people are only learning about for the first time now. Kerning is the process by which designers of typography space letters in the way that is most visually pleasing. There is even a game on the internet involving kerning and it just might be as frustrating as it sounds. If all this seems a little obsessive, that is because it is.
But Google seems to have its fair share of obsessiveness about kerning and to be happy about it. In a statement made by a one of their representatives to Gizmodo, they said, “Great to see people notice and appreciate even single pixel changes.” Beyond that, a simple web search of the word “kerning” leads to a page where the spacing of the letters in the word are off just a very little bit. That has to be frustrating for hardcore disciples of kerning and may seem like a cruel joke on the part of Google. Perhaps the Reddit user who first noticed the change to the logo is one of those. In fact, on the Reddit page discussing the new Google logo, someone had the audacity to say they never understood why bad kerning bugged people so much. That commentator was summarily labeled a “monster.”
Besides the infinitesimal minutia of the internet and its policing by webizens, Google has made other changes recently that will have far more of an effect on day-to-day life than their logo. Google has finally launched Chromecast in Australia and it promises not just to make the company more money, but to revolutionize television Down Under. Chromecast is a handy little device that plugs into a television and allows for the streaming of content directly on the television and all controlled by a user’s computer or smartphone. It is a nifty piece of technology that has allowed many American and European homes to watch Netflix or funny Youtube videos of cats without cramming around a small screen or engineering some other kind of hookup between technologies. The Chromecast device will sell for $49 in Australia, allowing them the access that millions of others have already enjoyed.
Despite this, the big news from Google today is the logo. Whether or not Reddit is ruining serious news with its magnifying glass on the internet or if it is just the best story a Wednesday could come up with, no one knows. Still, watching the gif of Googles new logo is taking up a lot of time. Perhaps only the hardcore kerners are really enthused about all these big changes.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury