Google has given over its logo to an arrangement of carrots, cranberries, herbs, and other ingredients to showcase Thanksgiving recipes by author and chef Ina Garten.
Google regularly switches up the logo on its homepage to honor authors, inventions, or holidays, but this is the first time (to our recollection) that it's linked its logo to a specific, curated set of content. Normally, clicking on the Doodle takes users to a page of Google search results for that specific query (i.e. "Hans Christian Andersen" when a Thumbelina-themed logo appeared on Google.com).
Given the massive number of searches performed on Google each day, the logo is bound to be a big boon for Garten (already, at 9:00AM ET, Ina Garten was the top search on Google Trends, queries for her name having reached "volcanic" level.) It also makes Google look a bit more like a content provider, rather than a content organizer. (Note: We've reached out to Google for a comment.)
Google has maintained that it needs news organizations, and other content providers, in order to keep itself in business. Google's President of Global Sales Operations and Business Development Nikesh Arora told The Atlantic that Google has a “deeply symbiotic relationship” with content creators, explaining that Google "[helps] people find content." “We don’t generate content ourselves," he told The Atlantic's James Fallows. "As long as there is great content, people will come looking for it. When there’s no great content, it’s very hard for people to be interested in finding it. That’s what we do for a living.”
There's always been an editorial element to search--Google's algorithms prioritize some sites over others--but showcasing content from a third party, Garten, takes it to a new level. We wonder: How many fewer people will search for "Thanksgiving recipes" after having come across "Ina Garten's Thanksgiving Recipes from Google?" While Google did not write the recipes, it created the page that features them. Does this count as generating content, in which case Arora's statement rings false?
See the Doodle below. Do you take issue with Google highlighting Garten's recipes or do you think it's fine? Do you think Google is crossing the line to become a content creator? Weigh in.
UPDATE: A Google spokesperson told The Huffington Post in a statement:
From time to time our Google doodles link to a landing page which has fun and useful information for our users -- similar to a recent doodle celebrating Giovanni Schiarpaelli's birthday. We’re celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday a little early this year and collaborated with Ina Garten who brings a sense of warmth and style to her cooking. We hope our users enjoy her culinary advice and that it helps them get a head start on their dinner preparations.