ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Google not Showing Doodles in Bhutan. Why?

Two months ago, on March 8th, 2014, the world celebrated International Women's Day (IWD). On that day, as it sometimes does, the official Google home page logo was replaced with a "Google Doodle", a fun and interactive logo designed especially for that occasion. Millions of users around the world enjoyed the logo and the video that came with it (click here to see that doodle; read more Google Doodles, including an archive of more than 2000 past doodles.)

Google Doodle for IWD 2014 (shown worldwide - but not in Bhutan)

Some Google doodles are specific for a country. For example, a few days ago Google showed a special logo to users in the country of Israel, which celebrated its 66th Independence Day.

Google Doodle for Israel's 66th Independence Day

Many of the doodles, like the IWD 2014 one, are international and are viewed by users in many countries — almost. For some reason, ever since was launched, Google has stopped displaying international Google doodles in Bhutan.

Here is a map showing, in BLUE, the countries where the IWD 2014 doodle was shown. Note that Bhutan — the tiny white speck near NE India — is in WHITE. Bhutanese users got the same treatment as users in less-women-friendly countries such as Iran, Sudan, and Yemen. Why?

The reach of the IWD 2014 Doodle
But that doesn't stop here. Checking information about other international Doodles (Earth Day, Mother's day, birth and death anniversaries of important people, etc) shown in the last few years, it is apparent that users in Bhutan are always excluded. And we dare not even mention the remote possibility that Google can create Doodles specifically for events or people in Bhutan...

Google, bring doodles back to Bhutan!

Update: Yesterday (May 11th) the 1.2 billion neighbors to our south (along with many others around the world) enjoyed the following Mother's Day doodle. As usual, Google kept Bhutanese in the dark.

Doodle for Mother's Day 2014 shown in many countries, including India (but not Bhutan)

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