Google is celebrating the 50th edition of Earth Day with an interactive Google Doodle, where users play as a bee, in honour of the buzzing insect’s importance to the environment.
The Doodle starts with a video that explains how bees are responsible for pollinating two-thirds of the world’s crops and 85% of the world’s flowering plants.
Users then get to play as a cartoon bee, guiding it across the screen with a mouse or by tapping on touchscreen devices.
The game plays as a scrolling platformer, where the player’s goal is to pollinate flowers by collecting pollen from one flower before moving to another in a matching colour. When players hover the bee over a matching flower, a field of flowers will bloom around it.
The team behind the doodle, head Doodler Gerben Steenks and engineers Jacob Howcroft and Stephanie Gu, explained that the game does not have an end and will continue to randomly generate fields to explore.
“Since the game goes on as long as you want it to, you can end up seeing thousands of flowers, trees, and bushes. Optimising our code to make sure we could include all this content was definitely challenging!” said the team, on the Doodle archive.
The Doodle team partnered with New York-based Honeybee Conservancy on this project, for advice on what the public could do to aid bee conservation.
Its founder Guillermo Fernandez said that even while social distancing, the public can help by leaving undisturbed soil in their garden or making nesting boxes which act as shelters for bees. They can also create a bee bath using a shallow bowl with clean water, along with stones that poke out of the water, that bees can land on to drink from.
For those with gardens, he recommends they grow pollinator-friendly plants, which bees can feed from.
Alternatively, the public is also encouraged to donate to local environmental groups or support their local beekeepers by buying their honey or beeswax.