I found this on Seth Godin's site today, and I had to check it out for myself. It was still there when I visited. Behold: the missing "L" in Google! (Photo proof above.)
Now, I love Google — it's revolutionized my world by bringing so much information to my monitor so quickly and efficiently. I use Google Maps and read Google News. I'm not highlighting this to shame them. I am a copyeditor and proofreader in much of my freelance work. I cannot resist this "teachable moment," and this mini-lesson in TCC — what I like to call "Taking care of copy" — will benefit anyone who writes.
So, the first thing that everyone is probably wondering is: "How could there be such an obvious typo — if it is indeed a typo?" My questions are:
- Is this intentional? If so, why? Is it to get attention?
- Is the chocolate-covered strawberry's green stem supposed to be the "L"? If so, I think it's too subtle, as it doesn't read clearly as a letter.
- Has Google turned a bit Monty Python? The classic comedy troupe is famous for spelling words with "silent q's". Perhaps forward-thinking Google is trying out a silent letter of its own.
If it is a typo, then I must say this: mistakes like this happen all the time. They happen in headlines splashed across newspaper front-pages. They happen in catalog headings and in captions on the evening TV news. They happen in brand-new, hot-off-the-presses media kits and in the ultimate, polished, I-really-need-this-job résumé. They happen in recently published, 500-page-long books. About the only place one doesn't see typos is radio...unless one takes a peak at the station's website or program guide.
The people who make these mistakes are usually incredibly bright, good spellers, and often writers. They know how to spell the words so often misspelled. Simple words in headlines can be spell-checked (but homophones need human attention), and complicated words (like unfamiliar last names) can be checked with a variety of sources, including the person with the unfamiliar last name or said-person's assistant or p.r. firm.
So, if this is an unintentional typo, then how did it happen? My theories:
1. This logo was a rush job. Someone in the graphics department had to get this completed and live at the last minute, they spent a lot of time on the beautiful chocolate "g" spilling from the strawberry, and let the logo loose before getting a proofreader to give it one last look.
2. The person who looked at this after the graphics person designed this wasn't a proofreader but was the project manager. Probably very hurried also, he or she gave it a quick look and a quicker o.k.
3. This was created at a stage when a spell checker couldn't catch this. How? Google's logo might have been created in Adobe Illustrator. If so, AI has a spell-check function, but if the text was converted to outlines so the designer could more easily manipulate it, then it's no longer viewed as text by the software, so it cannot be spell-checked. A human eye needs to catch something like this.
One lesson to take away from this: Speed kills (correct copy).
Actions happen so fast these days, and people are multi-tasking beyond their limits. At crucial last stages like proofreading and copyediting, those involved have to:
A. Slow down and focus
B. Bring in an outside person whose sole responsibility is making sure the copy is correct
C. Not follow Monty Python's comedic spelling and grammar rules
D. All of the above
As an editor, proofreader, and writer by profession, I see errors like this every day. There's nothing wrong with mistakes in the draft phases; because humans are fallible, there will always be errors. Professional editors and proofreaders are thrilled, happy and satisfied to be a part of this wordy process and to catch them. This is what we specialize in doing.
The only mistake arises when this crucial second set of trained eyes is not employed to do their parts before the "draft" become "final," and what should be a benign, every-day error becomes blogged-about public record.
1. If you celebrate Valentine's Day, then I wish you a happy one.
2. If anyone has grammar, spelling or editing questions, leave them in the comments, and I'll answer them.