This afternoon, I mentioned at the Search Engine Roundtable that Google Hong Kong was showing a white Google logo. The logo showed up a week or so ago on Google Poland as well. A Google spokesperson told me the logo is only displayed when Google wants to recognize a “current loss or tragedy.” Today the logo is on Google China and Hong Kong over the earthquake that occurred in Qinghai.
Google told me:
From time to time we show a special colorless logo on our homepage in recognition of a current loss or tragedy. Users in Poland recently saw this muted logo, and now we’re showing the logo to users in China and Hong Kong to pay our respects to the victims of the Qinghai Earthquake. We are saddened by the loss of life and great damage caused by this natural disaster, and our thoughts are with the people of Qinghai, China.
I do not know exactly when Google first used the white or colorless logo but first reports seem to indicate on April 13th at Google Poland.
Hat tip Michel Wester.
Postscript: Google confirmed the first time they used the colorless logo was last week on Google Poland.
It is also my understanding that Google would only use such a logo when the government declares a national state of mourning or something equivalent to that.
Postscript 2: Baidu also has a colorless logo: