Google's new Doodle a ploy to get more Chrome users on OSX?

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There has been quite a buzz today around the net about the new Google Doodle with interactive dots ( if you haven’t seen it yet checkout the Google homepage ). It uses a nice little bit of JavaScript and CSS3 to animate a group of HTML “dots” to form the Google logo and interact with the mouse pointer.

However one person in the Blueclaw office is unable to view this in his browser of choice, Mark one of our designers who like all hippy creative types chooses to use OSX and browses the web using Safari 5.  Instead of the much talked about doodle Mark is greeted with an message telling him to install Google Chrome for  “A faster way to browse the web”.

Safari on OSX does not show the doodle but an install chrome button

Now seeing as chrome and Safari use a very similar version of the Webkit rendering engine and Safari supports the border-radius CSS property to used to make the dots there seems no reason why the doodle would not work in this browser.  On checking the homepage source code on both Safari and Chrome it seems that the JavaScript for the doodle is not served up to OSX Safari at all so some browser detection is done server side and for some reason a decision has been made to serve OSX Safari users a version of the page without the doodle.

But why is this done?  Our best guess is that it is a ploy by Google to get more OSX users to install Chrome to be able to view this doodle which they will be hearing about and they are probably banking on some of these users staying with the browser.

Strangely Safari 5 on Windows shows the doodle just fine, so this seems to be specifically OSX users.

The New Google Doodle displays in Safari on windows

Update: It seems that some users are getting the doodle in Safari/OSX but there are still lots of reports on twitter (herehere, here and here) of Safari/OSX users not getting the doodle (including our Mark the poor fella).

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  • plonsdale

    google dots doodle works fine for me with Safari 5…

  • John Hickling

    Are you running OSX plonsdale?

  • Mal

    howdy Blueclaw people…

    this might have been a rollout thing – I’ve just checked Safari 5 on OS X and it looks all good here… I saw it first on Firefox, so I’m not convinced by the Chrome argument…

    unless they started out testing how many people would install Chrome and then thought ‘ach, just let them see it…’

  • John Hickling

    Mal, further research shows indeed that some Safari/OSX users are able to see this but others aren’t a bit hit an miss.

    Would be interesting to see how chrome downloads are affected by this and the Arcade Fire site ( Google helped launch last week

  • Out of the 3 macs we have in the office 3 could see it, all of them running safari 5. I wouldn’t put past google maybe to pull a stunt like this but I don’t think they would be so obvious about it to do it on the good homepage. The arcade fire video is more the kind of style I would expect to see from google, where by possibley those invthe industry can see the underhand tactics at work.

  • V Char

    Google Doodle doesn’t work for me in any browser I used. I can’t see it 🙁