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Google has refused to comment on the rumours and speculation, saying only that the mystery of the doodles would be revealed "in time". It also confirmed that its doodles were never used for commercial advertising, exploding the myth that the doodles could in some way be related to a film release.
Everyone's trying to read deep significance into this. Is it about abduction? Or aliens? Or Horsell? Or just crop circles? No. It's almost certainly a viral marketing campaign teasing people ahead of some launch in a week or two. One possible explanation is that it's trailing an online "happening" that will coincide with the 143rd anniversary of Wells's birth next week.
Crop circles were once fascinating additions to the English countryside, but now they have become tacky vehicles for corporations to advertise just about anything. A cottage industry has grown up with groups of circle-makers ready - for a price - to reproduce just about anything. The Royal Bank of Scotland, Disney, NBC, UKTV, Red Bull, Greenpeace, Microsoft, Nike, Shredded Wheat, Pepsi, Weetabix, the BBC, The Sun, Mitsubishi, O2, Big Brother, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel have all paid to emblazon fields with their signatures.
Now Google has jumped on the bandwagon. If you click on the crop circle icon, it brings up a search for crop circles. The first alien-themed doodle that Google ran was last week, when it had people guessing why it showed a flying saucer "abducting" the letter "O" in its name. Clicking on that doodle took users through to a page about "unexplained phenomenon".
Expect all to be explained next week.
For the fourth year, we’re asking young people aged 5–16 from across the UK to design their own doodle. This year's theme is 'My Hero'. We'd love to see the figures young people look up to represented in their doodles, whether family, friends, people in the community, or world figures. We're interested in the people considered heroes for the 21st century and how entrants represent them using images.