When Google changes its logo in honor of a holiday, someone's birthday, or just for the heck of it, it sometimes gets some chatter. When Google created the Pac-Man logo, articles appeared of people trying to figure out how it worked, or commenting on tech support calls within organizations from users who blamed their own IT team, or even notes about lost productivity.
Today's Google Doodle has gotten a lot of traction in the web standards community and even sites that sometimes talk about web standards, like Mashable (Google Logo Turns into Animated Particles) and New Scientist (What's Google's mysterious doodle?). Those aren't the interesting bits of coverage, however.
Christian Heilmann took the time to reverse engineer the code and discovered that the balls were nothing more than
divs with a border radius using script to move around the page (Google goes bubbly – interactive logo today on the UK homepage (plus source)). As he notes, the effect isn't exactly HTML5. The script moves and resizes the
divs, but that isn't unique to HTML5 and could be done in HTML4 and support IE6. While CSS3 is used to create the balls, that could have been done with other techniques, and CSS3 is still not HTML5. Interestingly, Google blocked Opera in its browser sniffer, which Bruce Lawson explained could be bypassed by telling Opera to report itself as Firefox.
Rob Hawkes wasn't impressed, primarly because Google did not use HTML5. He set about rebuilding the Google Doodle in the HTML5
canvas element, and did so in just a couple hours (Recreating Google’s bouncing balls logo in HTML5 canvas). If you have a
canvas-capable browser, check Rob Hawkes' version.
Who Called it HTML5?
When New Scientist tweeted its article about the Google Doodle, the tweet read: "Could the Google doodle herald HTML5?" They could be forgiven simply for not being a web-focused magazine. Pocket-lint reported it was written in HTML5, but they are also not dedicated to web development. It seems the rumor started in multiple places via multiple tweets via multiple users, and probably owing to the HTML5
doctype on the page, which implies HTML5 but doesn't actually make it HTML5.
If you didn't get to see today's Google Doodle, or you prefer to surf in Netscape Navigator 3.04, then check out this screencast lovingly stolen from Christian Heilmann:
If you haven't tried it yet, try moving the browser window around and watching the balls react.
Update (Sept 9): AreGooglesBouncingBallsHTML5.com — Need I say more?