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Originally published October 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 10, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Google's Sputnik salute angers some conservatives

Should the world's most-used search engine be more of a Yankee Google Dandy? Google occasionally features lighthearted doodles on its colorful...

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Should the world's most-used search engine be more of a Yankee Google Dandy?

Google occasionally features lighthearted doodles on its colorful home-page logo to commemorate special occasions. But the company is drawing criticism from political conservatives for not being more patriotic.

The Mountain View, Calif., company bathes its logo in stars and stripes every Independence Day, but last week's decision to honor the 50th anniversary of the Sputnik launch — the second "g" in Google was replaced with a drawing of the Soviet satellite — is being blasted by some conservatives.

Not only did Google honor an achievement by a totalitarian regime that was a Cold War enemy, these conservatives griped, but did so without having ever altered its logo to commemorate U.S. soldiers on Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

"It's a kick to your belly," said conservative blogger Giovanni Gallucci, 39, a social media consultant from Dallas. "I understand these guys are scientists and engineers and they have their quirks ... but why not celebrate the struggles that we've come through as a people?"

Conservatives see the Sputnik logo as particularly galling because the search giant's in-house artist has tweaked the Google logo for a variety of obscure events, including World Water Day, Persian New Year, painter Edvard Munch's birthday and China's Dragon Boat Festival.

Google regularly gives more famous U.S. holidays the logo treatment, including Halloween, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day.

"When they ignore Veterans Day and Memorial Day, I think they're telling us something about the way they view America," said Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily.com, a conservative news site that has criticized Google's logo decisions.

Conservatives have found plenty of reasons to complain about Google, which they see as a liberal enclave because of the corporate causes it champions and the political candidates its employees support.

Google's decision to self-censor its search engine in China to comply with the Communist government's online rules also has drawn condemnation from Republicans.

"Google's special logos tend to be lighthearted and often scientific in nature," spokeswoman Sunny Gettinger said in an e-mail. "We do not believe we can convey the appropriate somber tone through this medium to mark holidays like Memorial Day."

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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