Herman Melville books celebrated in Google Doodle on 161st anniversary of Moby-Dick

18 Oct 2012

It’s 161 years since Herman Melville’s epic sea adventure captured the world’s imagination with the opening words, “Call me Ishmael,” and Google has marked the occasion with an illustration of the white whale and the seamen chasing him.

The beautifully illustrated, lino print-style doodle uses negative space to depict the great Moby-Dick, with a spurt from his blowhole making the ‘l’ of Google.

Clicking the doodle brings users to a search for “Herman Melville books”, which showcases the Knowledge Graph Google began rolling out earlier this year. This presents search results that give users instant access to the information that is most frequently related to their searches.

In this case, a panel on the right of the search results provides us with a quick introduction to Melville and his image from Wikipedia, plus some key personal information that users often search for, such as his birth date, when he died, his family and his education.

Enhancements to the Knowledge Graph introduced image-based lists in a carousel across the top of the search results, which for this search presents users with links to searches for each of Melville’s books. On the search page, the doodle changes to the word Google, forming the shape of a whale on the sea.

"Herman Melville books" Google search

Moby-Dick was Melville’s most famed work, published in 1851. The tale of Captain Ahab’s quest to find the white whale that cost him his leg, told through the eyes of a wandering sailor called Ishmael, is now hailed as a literary masterpiece, though it first received mixed reviews.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.