Google Gothic: So, So, So Dark

Oh the tortured soul of the gothic enthusiast in search of online information.

She moves herself to the computer despite her typical state of existential suffering, in search of perhaps some new hair dye or black flowing garments. She also heard there’s a new edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula she’s wanted to look up (for delivery of course, to avoid exposure to the harsh daylight).

But alas, the first page she pulls up on her computer screen is a gleaming white screen, the very enemy of her preferred black décor. That would be bad enough, but there’s also that vibrant rainbow Google logo, just about as far from goth as you can get.

Fortunately, some clever designers have come to her rescue with a search engine homepage that better reflects her spooky sensibilities—Google Gothic. Google Gothic is a parody site, sometimes called a Google “skin” or “mirror site” that takes the Google Custom Search Engine and embeds it in an adapted version of the homepage to fit whatever theme. In this case, that’s a black background with dramatic lettering and gothic illustrations.

google gothic

To be clear, Google Gothic isn’t so much one website, but a handful of Google parody sites designed to appeal to people who enjoy the gothic aesthetic. First a little background on what that means. Gothic is a term to describe a literary, music or design style that focuses on the darker elements of existence. The classic example is something like Dracula, but can also involve emotional, contemplative music or heavy metal.

Think of candles, gargoyles, vampires, skeletons and lots and lots of black. The term “Goth” is a popular term used to describe people who love the gothic style or live the gothic lifestyle. That often refers to, but is not restricted to, young people who drape themselves in black clothes and listen to moody music.

Here are a couple of Google Gothic websites:

Goth Engine: This is the rather dramatic site that comes up when you type in Google Gothic and hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. It takes the user to an all black screen, and instead of the Google logo, red, animated words “Goth Engine” are engulfed in flames. Most text is red, and the search results come back in red and blue. One cool feature of this site is a link to a page of Goth Quotes, of which there is one featured on the main page:

“If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you.”
-Friedrich Nietzche

Gothic Engine: This one is more elaborate, and actually has some other features along with the Google search engine. Again, no surprise, the homepage is black, but in this version, the masthead is and old font that looks to be carved out of stone, and is straddled by two matching stone gargoyles. In the background are a full moon and the silhouette of a bat.

But the coolest feature of this site is definitely the social aspect, because hey, even goths need other goths to hang out with online. It has a social network, a message board, a blog and a gallery of goth music videos. Spooky!

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