Google Doodle Celebrates Television's 90th Anniversary as Children Switch to Web

Google Doodle
Google’s latest Doodle, released January 26, marks the 90th anniversary of the first live demonstration of television by one of its inventors, John Logie Baird. Google

There is some irony, perhaps, in an Internet giant celebrating the 90th anniversary of television, as Google has with its latest Doodle. A much-loved presence in many Western homes throughout the 20th century, the "box" seems to be falling out of fashion. The web has superseded television in a number of areas, particularly among children. A study, also released Wednesday, by the U.K. research agency Childwise has found that for the first time, children are spending more of their day online than watching television.

The survey says that Netflix is used more often than any other television channel and that children spend around three hours per day online. By contrast they spend just 2.1 hours watching television, the BBC reports. Among those aged 15-to-16 years old, less than a quarter said they would watch television as it is broadcast. Instead, they opt for on-demand services or YouTube.

Google may be particularly happy with the study—it bought YouTube in 2006. Nonetheless, it has chosen to honor the 90th anniversary of its video service's antecedent, television. The first live demonstration of mechanical television on January 26, 1926 showed the blurred and flickering face of Daisy Elizabeth Gandy, the business partner of one of the inventors of television, John Logie Baird, the Telegraph reports. Google's Doodle has replaced Gandy's face on the television with that of Baird's.

The mechanical television operated in a similar way to a radio, though it could of course produce video as well as sound using a rotating mechanism. Baird later developed color television and in 1929, rolled out the first television set for public purchase, priced at the then rather expensive £30 ($43). Modern televisions now use electronic scanning to produce their images.

Baird continued working in television, moving into electronic models in the 1930s. In 1931, the company he had founded, the Baird Television Development Company, produced the first live transmission of the Epsom Derby horse race.