Google’s Valentine’s Day doodle, a sweet video co-animated by Michael Lipman of Happy Tree Friends fame, packs a small but powerful social message about marriage equality and how materialism -- even with the help of Google searches -- can't solve problems of the heart.
The doodle tells the story of a boy who has a crush on a jump-roping girl, and in an effort to woo her, uses Google to search for gift ideas. With Tony Bennett's cover of "Cold, Cold Heart" crooning in the background, the boy tries again and again, lavishing her with flowers, chocolates, a diver's helmet, and magic tricks, until he's almost defeated. Then he reappears one day with a common interest -- a jump rope -- and wins her affections.
It's humbling for Google to confess that even with its super powerful search engine capable of finding any and all gifts, such things can't solve all our problems, especially when it comes to human emotions.
Another great moment comes at the tail end of the video. There's a montage of a bunch of happy couples together. There's a spaceman and an alien; a princess and a frog; a dog and cat; a bookish pair; a cookie and a carton of milk; and two men wearing tuxedoes and holding hands, which I took to imply that they're a gay couple getting married.
Perfect timing, too. Yesterday, Washington state legalized gay marriage -- possibly with the help of a letter to the governor from Microsoft and five other tech companies -- and the New Jersey Senate also voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriages, though the bill has some challenges ahead.
That Google would tip a hat to gay marriage shouldn't come as a surprise -- Google is a very vocal supporter of gay rights. But even if you didn't see what I saw, it's heartening to watch a Valentine's Day message about all different kinds of love … that isn't also soaked with consumerism.