Google Launches 1st Doodle Competition in The Arab World.

24 Mar, 2009

Doodles are different versions of the Google logo, where they are used to celebrate different people, events or special dates and are displayed at Google’s homepage during the special day or event.

Now for the first time in the Arab world Google is gona display a local Egyptian doodle designed by Egyptian Orphans and chosen by the public on Google Egypt Homepage ( in commemoration of orphan’s day on April 3rd.

The doodle will be the resolute of Google’s recently launched design competition for 160 orphans in Cairo. Youngsters took part in the ‘Doodle 4 Google – My Egypt’ competition designed a Google doodle explaining what it means to be Egyptian. The winning doodle, will be displayed on Google Egypt Homepage ( for a day on and will be seen by millions of Egyptian internet users.

160 orphans selected by Resala, the Egyptian based charitable organization participated in a day of drawing and fun activities. Along with participating in the Doodle4Google competition where they had to draw a doodle representing the theme ‘My Egypt’, the kids had the opportunity to have their faces painted and enjoyed lot of outdoors fun activities according to a press release from Google. 

Google partnered with several organizations to make this event possible. Lead Marketing and the German University in Cairo (GUC) who hosted the event, both provided all the logistical support required to make this day happen. Professors and students from Faculty of Applied Arts mentored orphans during the drawing session, and worked closely with Google team.

Wael Ghonim, Google Marketing Manager in MENA, said:

“At Google, we like to reflect the ever changing world of our users through the logo designs on our homepage. These “doodles” celebrate different people, events or special dates. Whenever we change these doodles we receive a lot of public interest and so we felt it was a great way to extend this competition for the first time in the Middle East to orphans in Egypt in commemoration of orphan’s day on April 3rd.” 

A highlight of the event was attendance by Khaled Abu Naga, the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and celebrity. Abu Naga motivated the children to think of what inspires them about Egypt and being Egyptian. Kicking off the Doodle competition, Abu Naga stayed on to watch all the doodles completed and took pictures with the orphans. 

At the event over 200 doodles were submitted and an expert panel that included 4 professors of the faculty of Applied Arts GUC, 2 Egyptians and 2 Germans. In addition to Asim Janjua, Google’s Webmaster for Emerging Market. The panel narrowed the doodles to 25 based on artistic merit, creativity and theme according to Google press release. 

I liked most of the narrowed doodles; however I noted most of them focused in symbols from the Pharaoh area, something I personally did not like, since I do not like the Pharaoh who claimed that he is God! I would have loved to see more doodles that symbolize the Islamic identity of Egypt more than anything else. So ArabCrunch official vote goes to doodle on the top of this post.

However Ghonim assured ArabCrunch that “All the doodles were judged based on artistic merit, creativity, representation of the theme, and other criteria. The panel selected 25 doodles out of the total number of doodles. For those who are interested to see the rest of the doodles who couldn’t make it to finals, please go to (here)“

The winning doodle will be selected by the Egyptian public starting from March 22 until March 27. Public can visit: to select their preferred doodle.

Ghonim said

“in our view, all the children who participated in the event were winners, they all had fun on the day and received gifts from our generous partners: Cairo Capital Lions Club, Samir & Ali, DIWAN Bookstore, and NetSignature.”

A framed individual photograph for each orphan, was taken on the day of the event as a souvenir along with a certificate from Google.  

This is a great move from Google, which has taken in the past year more proactive initiatives in the Arab world, from localizing most of its products and now offering a local Egyptian doodle.

Google has been asked by many internet users to do some local Doodles, for example there were some online campaigns asking Google to offer doodles that matches the Islamic world special event such as this facebook group and this Pro Pakistani blog post who both asked for Eid  Ul Adha Doodle.

I expect to see more Google Doodles launched in more Arab countries and maybe other Islamic and non Islamic countries.

“We tend not to pre-announce our plans. However, satisfying the Arabic user is on top of our agenda for 2009, we are working on a plan to display locally relevant doodles for different parts of the Arab world. Its always great to make our users happy” Ghonim told ArabCrunch.


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  1. Randa  |  March 24th, 2009 at 1:02 AM #

    That’s so awesome 😀 . I really wish the best for Google.Thanks for this amazing article.

  2. Khaled  |  March 24th, 2009 at 1:20 AM #

    I wish google would focus more on aspects such as:
    -providing me an easier way to change languages, my iPhone doesn’t support arabic and there is no way to change the language at
    -Saudi Arabia’s map is outdated (navteq’s maps are bad compared to teleatlas) and google mobile database is outdated. I can’t use it.
    -Enable google map maker for Saudi Arabia and UAE please

    I am aware google made a huge deal last year with the Saudi ministry of education to provide emails for 5 million students, but we want more from google in the middle east. not just a drawing competition …

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