I hate to be Debbie Downer here, but despite our community’s best efforts, it seems doubtful that Google will ever consent to run a diabetes-related Doodle on World Diabetes Day, Nov. 14.
How could Google possibly ignore such a pressing and widespread topic?! And hey, we’ve got the Blue Circle to illustrate our cause, too…
The answer is that Google’s mission was never to save the world, but simply to be a leading internet company with all the coolest technology. That they have certainly achieved! And they either don’t realize the potential impact of their featured Doodles, or they don’t care to get mixed up in supporting various “causes.”
An anonymous source who previously worked in management at Google (don’t bother sleuthing; it’s no one ever mentioned here before) talked briefly with the ‘Mine about what goes on inside the Google Doodle world. Don’t they have guidelines for picking important topics to feature, for example?
“There are guidelines, but it’s not all about the guidelines. Does if feel like a good fit? Is it fun? Is it cool? It’s not about how impactful it is, or about about issues important to humanity. It’s a marketing tool for Google, is all,” our source tells us.
The source goes on to note that “health is messy. It’s complicated. It’s hard to illustrate health causes in a Doodle cartoon. And what about the other 94 health-related requests? Google would have to accommodate them too. Saying yes to something can have implications...”
As disappointing as this is, it’s not surprising. If you Google the term, “Google Doodle disappointment,” you’ll find about 312,000 hits.
We reported essentially the same thing back in 2008, when the diabetes community rallied for a Doodle for the first time, led by Manny Hernandez of the Diabetes Hands Foundation and David Edelman of Diabetes Daily. They gathered over 10,000 signatures back then, but to no avail.
The Google Health product manager at the time told us, “Doodles are often super-nerdy, like a celebration of the recent particle accelerator experiment in Europe or the birthday of some offbeat artist.”
Manny and team clearly recognize this, as this year they are focusing on the birthday of Frederick Banting, discoverer of insulin, instead of WDD as the desired Doodle theme. See the 2012 petition here.
Regarding this year’s push for a diabetes Doodle, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), for one, is pulling out all the stops — emailing to all its constituents and pushing the campaign below. Unfortunately, their hashtag #Doodle4Banting doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction.
Google Doodles actually just celebrated their 14th birthday, and to mark the occasion, the Huffington Post published a piece on how they are made. They report that the Doodle team consists of four or five people, all artists. Theme ideas come from all over the world, and need to be quirky and make people laugh. Bad news for diabetes and other health topics, I’d say!
Meanwhile, in related news:
The Blue Circle as the international symbol for diabetes is finally getting some long-overdue recognition among the D-Powers That Be. I noticed the symbol now appears on the home page of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) website, just as we had called for in our advocacy campaign last November (diabetes awareness month). Kudos to AADE! The Blue Circle is still conspicuously absent from the ADA and JDRF’s sites, however. Dern…
How can we expect a tech giant like Google to jump on our awareness symbol when our very own national advocacy groups do not?
If it doesn’t happen — and it may very well not — it’s high time to putting our thinking caps on about getting this great nation’s attention for this year’s World Diabetes Day.