The Washington Post

4TH OF JULY DOODLE: To celebrate freedom, Google urges viewers to support ‘an open and free Internet’

FROM OBAMA TO ROMNEY, it’s one of Google’s more overtly political Doodles.

Check out the tech titan’s search home-page today and readers see a stylish and star-spangled “Google” logo formed from a guitar and the words “This Land Was Made for You and Me” — lyrics, of course, from the enduring Woody Guthrie folk song, “This Land Is My Land.”

The Fourth of July Doodle marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. But then look beneath the logo, and viewers see that Google has included its own declaration — of digital independence.

The line beneath the search bar reads: “Celebrate freedom. Support a free and open Internet.” Click on that hyperlink and we are taken to Google’s “Take Action” page, which features a one-minute video that spotlights quotes — about life, liberty and the pursuit of digital democratization — from well-known political figures past and present, as well as everyday people.


“Perhaps the most open network in history and we have to keep it that way,” says the quote from President Obama.

“The Internet is possibly one of the greatest tools for democratization and individual freedom we’ve ever seen,” read the words from former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“With the Web, I’ve found independence,” says 17-year-old New Yorker Lucy Adams.

As the electric riffs of the National Anthem crackle along — more evocative of low-grade Hendrix than Guthrie — the video pulls back to reveal that these red-and-blue quotes are arranged to form a verbal American flag.

A share-able verbal American flag, which has been put into the public domain — to alter or pass along as you see fit.

All to urge you to sign up for the “open and free” campaign.

The Fourth of July “Take Action” flag poster that Google urges readers to check out and share. (courtesy of GOOGLE )


“More than any time in history, more people in more places have the ability to make their voices heard,” Google’s campaign says.

“Just as we celebrate freedom, we need to celebrate the tools that support freedom.

“Add your voice in support of a free and open Internet.”

On Google’s official blog, Susan Molinari, vice president of public policy and government affairs, notes that in 1776, “it took days” for the Declaration of Independence to be distributed among the colonists — but “today, such a document could be published and shared with the world in seconds.”

Which, in other words, is Google’s way of saying: “This Web is your Web, this Web is my Web” — privacy debates and all.

Happy birthday, Independence.


Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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