Google celebrates Rubik's Cube 40th anniversary with doodle you can play

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Today's Google doodle is a real treat for puzzle lovers everywhere. The search engine is hosting a three-dimensional interactive Rubik's Cube on its homepage, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the popular 3D puzzle's creation.

Invented by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik in 1974, more 350 million Rubik's Cubes have been sold worldwide, according to the official website. It notes there are 43 quintillion different ways to scramble the cube.

Over the past 14 years, Google has used its homepage doodles to celebrate everything from familiar holidays ,like the Fourth of July, to more obscure events, such as the 119th anniversary of the ice cream sundae.

As time went on, Google started getting more and more sophisticated with its doodles, as evidenced by the 2011 Moog synthesizer doodle, which allowed users to create short clips of music that could be shared via links or Google+.

The latest doodle -- perhaps the coolest one ever -- was also one of the the hardest to build. The creators had only recently become able to create a functional version of the Rubik's Cube, despite being suggested time and time again, reported Wired. Finally, widespread support for CSS 3-D Transforms on most browsers enabled Google's team to produce a puzzle that would work for most users.

"CSS 3-D Transforms lets us display the cube in a 3-D space, as opposed to having a sort of rasterized 2-D experience," Kristopher Hom, the lead engineer, told Wired. "It makes it feel alive, because as you're moving your mouse, you can see the cube rotating in 3-D space."

Rubik told Time Magazine in 2009 that the reason why the cube remained so popular was because of its design. Beautiful, simple and "a piece of art," the Google team tried to respect the austere design that propelled the toy into popular culture.

"I think we're all just really drawn to it because it's a symbol -- a symbol for problem-solving, a symbol for simplicity and complexity at the same time. That is really what we're trying to celebrate," Richard The of Google Creative Lab told Wired.

If you have time -- and be forewarned, patience is key -- try out the Rubik's Cube doodle here!

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