Google are being very bold at the moment. The company does not seem satisfied with their stock valuation in the hundreds of billions and its vice like grip on the majority of search traffic across the western world. Instead, it would appear that Larry Page, Sergey Brin and the rest of the management feel like Google has outgrown its original iteration and that steps must be taken to ensure that future growth of this veritable global behemoth. This has led to their unveiling of a revamped logo for their search engine – the largest change since the turn of the century and one that is likely to spark mixed reactions.
For those that do not know, Google Inc recently restructured themselves, with Larry and Sergey creating a holding company that goes by the name of Alphabet and which they will now run as CEO and President. If you visit the Alphabet website, it is pretty clear why they decided to change Google Inc to Alphabet. Over the years, Google (the search engine) has used its considerable revenue to invest in companies and technologies that have no attachment to the original company. As such, Alphabet allows for a cleaner holding company, one that is not associated with the search engine and can therefore act as the base for all of their weird and wacky investments. Google can then operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet and concentrate on what it does best, serving search customers.
Is this name change a big deal? Not really, in my eyes Google has been more than just a search engine for far too many years for this to come as a shock. They have been incredibly smart at acquiring brands and developing technologies that complement their search engine fantastically whilst also venturing into other areas such as Nest and Boston Dynamics. However, it does appear that Google have used this restructuring as an prime opportunity to refresh a brand that has not been touched in any major way since they removed their exclamation mark and switched to a serif font in 1999. In fact, Google have used this opportunity to help other fringe products such as Google + fall in line with the search engine by adopting the newer font as well.
Their new logo not only changes to a customised sans serif font with the same angled ‘e’ but also loses the blue ‘G’ on mobile in favour of a more multicoloured one and a multi coloured mic for voice activated search. At first glance it does appear as if Google has used the alphabet restructure as an opportunity to refresh Google’s brand for the modern age of desktop, tablet, mobile and voice activated search. In Google’s own words they wanted to differentiate themselves when the user is “talking, tapping or typing”. It is the prospect of a world in which mobile internet usage has recently surpassed desktop and laptop usage and wearable technology is threatening the existence of all 3 aforementioned devices.
The sans serif font is acceptable, albeit reasonably uninspiring, although it does make for easier reading on mobile devices which is undoubtedly a major reason for this rebrand. An interesting point to make is that whilst some have called the font childish, it does not invoke any major feelings. As a result, the colours can stand out much more. Combine this with the multicoloured G, the multicoloured mic and the four coloured dots which merge to create whichever brandmark is necessary and one could argue that Google is in fact looking to make the colours their brand rather than the letters or word. Whilst the four colours have always been associated with Google, the increased emphasis placed on the colours certainly falls in line with their statement that people no longer just use desktops to interact with Google. In fact, that they have moved beyond people using desktops, laptops and phones to cars with screens and wearable devices. These colours will help to represent the multiple ways in which people use Google and indeed the ways in which Google serve their users. Furthermore, as they have stated in their video regarding the logo change, Google has come a long way since 10 blue links in search results. This logo change, coupled with the creation of alphabet is testament to how they have diversified and become much more than just a search engine.
The slightly toned down colours, font and colourful mic are, on the whole, nothing to turn your nose up at. However, I must say I am not the biggest fan of the multicoloured G which I suspect is going to be the aspect which they push the most. It would not be a surprise if Google look to make this multi coloured G their main brandmark over then next few years. I don’t know about that, it feels a little too like a multi coloured version of the G used by The Gadget Show, but maybe upsetting the viewership of some pokey tech show on British tv is not the biggest of Google’s concerns….
There have been some big changes at Google HQ in recent months: the restructuring and creation of alphabet, the change of tact with Google+ and this rebrand of the search engine are but a handful of changes. Webmaster Tools became the Search Console months ago and the design of some of Google’s tools have also changed noticeably. We have no doubt that this change has in some way been forced upon Google by their own diversification and the current use of mobile devices (as well as future tech). As a result, we wouldn’t be surprised if other Google products fall in line with big design changes – think Youtube and Google maps. Watch this space!