Today is Les Paul‘s birthday, and the Google landing page has an interactive sound board in memoriam of the jazz guitarist and father of the electric guitar. The page is fun to play around with and lets you record your song with a shortened URL to send to friends. Similar to the piano stairs, Google has made a game out of something that is often fairly dull (except during their other Google Doodles). The question is: does it have benefits outside of just being fun?
Bill Brohaugh of Colloquy pointed out some of the features of gamification that are at play:
- Brand relevance. Playful logos are brand-central to Google.
- Fun. I play guitar about as skillfully as I fly commercial airliners, but I was captivated with this bit of guitar un-heroics.
- Innovation. Playing some Les Paul licks isn’t a game, precisely, and that’s part of the attraction. No pun intended, it’s playful.
- Player achievement. By clicking on a black button at the bottom right of the logo, you can record and save your composition (or, in my musically inept case, my fumbling about) to a special web link. Share the link with friends, and they can hear the recording while seeing the Les Paul guitar strings being strummed.
- Brand benefit. Where do your friends hear the recording and see the strings being strummed? On the Google bread-and-butter search home page, of course. It’s an innovative effort to retain traffic from current users and inspire traffic from others.