This section last updated on September 10, 2009 at 8:23am EST
On the homepage of Google on September 5th, 2009, you may have noticed that their logo had a UFO spaceship beaming up the “O” in the Google logo. If you click on this logo, it will take you to a search for “unexplained phenomenon” on the Google search engine.
Normally they do this for special events or holidays, such as having a special Christmas themed Google logo during the winter holidays. But why would they do this for a search of “unexplained phenomenon” keywords? And even more mind boggling is why they aren’t telling anyone what it’s all about?
Digging deeper, we find out that on Sept 5th Google posted an encrypted message on its Twitter account. The encrypted message is:
1.12.12 18.104.22.168 15 1.18.5 22.214.171.124.14.7 20.15 21.19
When decrypted the message reads “All your O are belong to us”, which references the famous Internet meme “All your base are belong to us”.
“All your base are belong to us” (often shortened to “All Your Base”, “AYBABTU”, or simply “AYB”) is a broken English phrase that was central to an Internet phenomenon, or meme, in 2000-2002, with the spread of a Flash animation that depicted the slogan. The text is taken from the opening cut scene of the 1991 European Sega Mega Drive version of the Japanese video game Zero Wing, by Toaplan which was poorly translated by Sega of Europe. It was popularized by the Something Awful message forums. [Wikipedia.org]
The decrypted message was based on a straight alpha-numeric translation, where 1=a, 2=b, 3=c, etc. Google coincided this tweet with the homepage logo of a UFO abducting the second ‘O’ in the word Google.
Even more interesting to us web nerds is the URL that this logo is sending us to. The full URL is http://www.google.com/#q=unexplained+phenomenon&ct;=go_gle&oi;=ddle&fp;=f5f306047617eef2. As you can see towards the middle of the URL, one of the parameters being passed in the URL is ct=go_gle. The “ct” parameter of Google URLs is the click location that helps in identifying whether a search result was clicked or cached results. It basically helps them specifically know where you clicked from.
So again. Why would Google do this?
- Have then been abducted by aliens and gone crazy?
- Are they trying to see how many people actually click on the logo doodle?
- Do they want to see if people actually look at the logo doodle?
- Maybe it’s to hype us for a new service coming soon?
- Is it for Exeter’s first UFO festival that takes place on Sept 5th?
- Would it be for some type of social experiment to see how much “buzz power” Google has?
- Maybe they plan on updating the doodle more often to compete with Bing’s picture of the day?
- Is something BIG coming on Monday from Google Products?
- Could it be an advertising strategy for the new Google OS?
- Are they trying to say “go gle”? What’s a GLE?
- Since they usually only do these doodles for events and holidays, does it have something to do with Labor Day? Google was criticized in 2007 for not featuring versions of the Google logo for American patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day. That year, Google featured a logo commemorating Veterans Day. [Wikipedia.com] So does Google have something special this year for Labor Day? The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates Labor Day. Is this why only some of Google’s other country homepage had this UFO image on it? But why a UFO? And why is it taking the second “o” only?
- Are they trying to poke a little humor at the fact Gmail crashed earlier in the week and was no where to be found for the majority of it’s users?
- Is it some type of advertising scheme for the Google Base service?
An official statement from Google says the following:
We consider the second ‘o’ critical to user recognition of our brand and pronunciation of our name. We are actively looking into the mysterious tweet that has appeared on the Google twitter stream and the disappearance of the “o” on the Google homepage. We hope to have an update in the coming weeks.
Ummm ok. So that still didn’t answer any of our questions. I think that just made it even more confusing and “mysterious” actually. Who knows. Maybe Google found life on another planet and knows something the rest of us don’t. I wouldn’t doubt it. Hopefully they will fill us in soon as to when exactly the aliens will be coming to Earth to scoop us up.
Some people on the internet are buzzing about www.unexplainedphenomenon.org, but I HIGHLY doubt that Google would promote a website to charge people about $11 to “access and fund Unexplained Phenomenon.” Even though it is pretty weird the price is actually $11.11, doing a WHOIS domain lookup let’s us know that the site was actually created on Sept 5th. I’m guessing even if Google or a company paid to to pull a stunt like that, they definately wouldn’t wait till the last minute to purchase the website name for it. And who are we kidding, Google has never had ads on their homepage. Some one willing to estimate how much a Google homepage ad space would go for? Hope you have a huge calculator for that. In the mean time, I wouldn’t waste my 11 bucks on that site. Looks like a scam to me. Save your 11 dollars and treat your best friend to some McDonalds tomorrow.
Anyone want to make place bets on what it’s really about? I got $500 on a new Google service now. Haha.
Hopefully someone has Dennis Hwang’s phone number and can find out for all of us. Dennis Hwang is the graphic artist who designs these Google festive logos.
Check back soon to find out the meaning behind this huge internet mystery!
Important Update: From a translated version of Google’s Korean Blog we have learned that this is just most likely the first of a series of doogles that Google will be using to provide clues to a puzzle. The puzzle mystery is to find out:
Who or what are these doodles actually celebrating?
The next Google logo doodle clue (say that 5 times fast) is expected to be shown on September 15, 2009. The text below is a translation using the Google Translate service.
So in human translated English, this is what we get from that:
Today’s celebration logo is related to the “unexplained phenomenon”. There will be two more logos in a series. (next is the 15th). Who is the logo celebrating for? Here is a hint keywords. ‘Mystery’, ‘Invisible’, ‘Novel’. Can you guess? This is pretty hard, but after you know, you will say, “Aha!” 🙂
Possible Answer 1: Zero Wing’s Anniversary
Zero Wing is a 1989 side-scrolling shooting arcade game developed by Toaplan and published by Taito. It was released in arcades on September 5, 1989. it enjoyed a degree of success in arcades and was subsequently ported to the Sega Mega Drive by Toaplan on May 31, 1991 in Japan, and by Sega during the same year in Europe, followed by a PC Engine CD-ROM release by Naxat Soft on September 18, 1992 only in Japan. [Wikipedia.com]
Possible Answer 2: HG Wells Birthday
Herbert George Wells was born on September 21, 1866. His early novels, called “scientific romances”, invented a number of themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. [Wikipedia.com]
Possible Answer 3: The O Campaign [TechCrunch.com]
The O Campaign is “a non-profit campaign forging alliances between the public, academia, corporations, and institutions in effort to efficiently channel resources for high-paced development of cutting-edge research in cancer prevention, while simultaneously spurring translation and delivery of innovative treatments to the public.” [OCampaign.org]
The reason some people are thinking this is what Google is trying to promote is because one of The O Campaigns’ Directors is Joseph J. Chung, who at one time has worked for Google according to his profile on thalas.com. Interesting, but that’s still not concrete proof.
But wait a second! Something that Sven Slootweg pointed out is even more interesting. The website www.unexplainedphenomenon.org, which looks like a scam to us, has the name “joseph@thalas” on the site’s checkout page for payment. Ok, so WTF is going on here?!? Did Joseph J. Chung of The O Campaign actually set up this unexplainedphenomenon.org website? If so, then why? And is it at all connected to Google? To tell you the truth, it’s confusing the hell out of us too. Your answer is just as good as ours.
So we decided to take this further, and actually have found out that unexplainedphenomenon.org is in fact registerd to a Joseph Chung. Based on the email address that references “thalas” in it, we are pretty sure this is the same Joseph J. Chung from The O Campaign. You can click here view the WHOIS lookup information we printed to a PDF (the contact information has been XXXed out, but this is readily available as a WHOIS lookup).
However, as we originally stated on September 5th when all this happend, doing a WHOIS domain lookup let’s us know that the unexplainedphenomenon.org site was actually created on Sept 5th (after the fact). And I mean come on, they definately wouldn’t wait till the day of release to purchase the website name for it. Right? Well, unless Google’s original plan was to really trick and confuse us. So we don’t think the O Campaign is the answer to this. Sorry TechCrunch.com, as much as we LOVE your website we have to disagree with that prediction. Don’t hold it against us. And if we’re wrong, then oh well. Who cares. Haha!
So would any of this be enough information to ultimately conclude this puzzle is finally solved? Personally, I think not. In my eyes, “the truth is still out there.” Someone else like to take a guess? Our ears are open and our minds are hard at work. Do you think this the reason Google is putting us through this? As a test to actually see how smart (or dumb) the world really is? Or was it really just nothing at all, a mere joke to have some fun at the Google office, and a lot of the internet community has blown this way out of proportion? Either way, we want an answer! Stay tuned to find out more up to date information as it becomes available. Honestly, I hope Google won’t make us wait until September 15th to find out whether they will be relesing another logo doodle puzzle on the Google homepage. Or actually, maybe they will. Keep us internet nerds all in suspense. 😉
So, a lot of you have been wondering about unexplainedphenomenon.org, and whether or not it’s a scam related to all this. Well it’s great to see that many others are still interested in what happend on September 5th with the Google logo, and Examiner.com has got the low down on the unexplainedphenomenon.org website. The following text below is a quote from the unexplainedphenomenon.org team (firstname.lastname@example.org), which Examiner.com has made available for all of us still seeking answers.
Thank you for your questions.
We will begin by answering “What specifically is the money you are asking for on your site to be used for?”
As previously touched upon, we are not looking for profit and we are also willing to be completely transparent about the money in-flow and out-flow for Unexplained Phenomenon. To answer the above question properly, we believe it requires us to be transparent with the details of our finances here and now. And in order to be transparent about our finances, we must also explain how and when the money was coming in. When Google first featured “Unexplained Phenomenon” on the late night of 9.4, we on the UP Team felt the opportunity was too good to be true. We remained cautious about the unexplained phenomenon. We stalled on whether we would launch unexplainedphenomenon.org. On the afternoon of 9.5, we finally launched the site and almost immediately, we had our first sign-up as someone gave $11.11 to Unexplained Phenomenon. Our visitors skyrocketed. For the members of the UP Team, this response was originally hypothetical, but as it became a reality, the magnitude of responsibility that lay on our shoulders became immense. Thus, within 30 minutes of the site launch, we took the site down to discuss whether or not we felt we could continue managing this true responsibility (the possibility that thousands of people might look to Unexplained Phenomenon.org for a source of knowledge and understanding of phenomenons unexplained). Despite the perfect timing and circumstances of the unexplained phenomenon, The UP Team nearly chose to abandon the project altogether. Yet five hours later, stepping back up to the plate, and feeling a sense of duty to Earth, the UP Team decided to relaunch the site. Upon our relaunch, once again, someone gave $11.11 to Unexplained Phenomenon. The succession of sign-ups was very clear. At first, one per 30 minutes, then one per 10 minutes. Suddenly, the sign-ups ceased. Upon researching why this might be the case, we found that your article suggesting we were likely a hoax had just been published. Since then, we have also been described as a scam by Telegraph.co.uk. Yet at the same time, there is a great deal of support and hope from humans for Unexplained Phenomenon and we believe with the help of others, our good name can be cleared. As of now, we have 10 sign ups, totalling $111.10. Our costs thus far have been $28.03 for pay per click advertising $7.29 for the domain, an amount between $20-$35 for associated hosting costs and credit card processing fees. We have also had several hours of donated time from parties who wish to remain anonymous in order to make this pure and possible. Outside of these basic costs, we hope to spend around 30% of current and future revenue on writers and creatives (communication), 30% of post-cost revenue on explorations of unexplained phenomenon (intelligence), 30% of post-cost revenue on the further discovery and proliferation of the power of love as it comes from unexplained phenomenon (love), and 10% on miscellaneous items and keeping up to date with technologies that will help advance our hopes. These figures are subject to change but not without careful reasoning and transparency. We received 4,486 visits in the 5 hours we were live on 9.5, 1,832 on 9.6, and 483 as of 3:30pm EDT today. Unexplained Phenomenon does not plan on being funded by advertisers or other parties. The only source of revenue for Unexplained Phenomenon at this point is the $11.11 from every sign up. And as you know, those figures will remain transparent.
The headquarters for Unexplained Phenomenon.org remains on the internet at UnexplainedPhenomenon.org which has thus far been developed and updated from several locations ranging from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US. The name of our organization is Unexplained Phenomenon.
To answer “Would you be willing give the names and contact information of several people associated with your organization?”
We currently have three major influences backing “Unexplained Phenomenon.” As of yet, we have considered releasing our names but we are still uncomfortable doing so for several reasons. Two of the reasons are as follows. A concern from one of our major influences (heretoforth referred to as “name”) is as follows, “[Name] is unclear of human media’s true intentions, knowing the human public’s oft lopsided interest in reading about scandals and ill will, [name] is concerned the interaction between the human public and human media may inadvertently bring upon an amplified influence for writers to frame Unexplained Phenomenon as an ill-willed organization. A respected writer, Lewis Lapham once said of human news, “it’s the freak show in order to sell the snow cones.” Even if Lapham’s statement holds partially true, [name] wishes to help Unexplained Phenomenon help humans move beyond such a news-reader relational paradigm, and until then, Unexplained Phenomenon would clearly rather be the ‘snow cone’.” The second concern is more existential. We are not entirely sure who we ourselves are, so we feel it might be somewhat premature to try and give ourselves names in these early developmental stages of Unexplained Phenomenon. All we hope is that through as much organizational transparency (ie the financial and transparency shown above) we will, together, be able to manifest Unexplained Phenomenon as it truly is — the Love which the UP Team believes has created it. In our effort to explain this point further, we ran a quick Google search for “who am i” and it revealed an inspirational music video with glow-in-the-dark hands. Although it is not our intention to promote human-organized religion (which seems to have funded the presentation of that video), we found the video meaningful and that it captured the gist.
To answer, Are you Joseph Chung? Are you this Joseph Chung: http://www.thalas.com/people_joseph_james_chung.html?
It is true that this person’s name is associated with the registration of the domain name www.unexplainedphenomenon.org and to that end he has expressed a desire to maintain certain distance with Unexplained Phenomenon. We do not wish to speak on his behalf, but we did find a very interesting article from Tech Crunch by Robin Wauters and a followup by Sven Slootweg. Though we are not sure if any of this is true, we feel that Google’s actions may or may not have been focused on a more practical, explainable, and from some perspectives “larger” goal which may or may not be publicized at a later date. However, a true “larger” goal might also be something that we have never experienced before. In other words, it may also be true that if the internet were likened to a primordial soup, and Google’s 9.5 occurrence were likened to a spark of lightning, then could Unexplained Phenomenon be an unexplained, unintentional (or intentional?), collaboration (form of life?) that all have access to? And if so, will humans be able to trust themselves more or the institutional organisms they have been creating? Or is there a difference?
When all is said and done, Unexplained Phenomenon wishes to exist currently as a legitimate form of entertainment with the goal of spreading the message of love and truth.
Please let us know if you have any further questions,
We hope you are signed up for our 11:11pm EDT message release.
So um yeah, we don’t even know what to say after all that. LOL! But we are 99.999999999% sure this has NOTHING to do with Google at all. We suggest you don’t waste your 11 dollars and 11 cents!