Under normal circumstances, the search-engine giant signals the conclusion of a year with a friendly animal.
For most of its users, however, such a motif would hardly do justice to the past 12 months, which included a global pandemic, the impeachment of a U.S. president, worldwide economic upheaval and a stock-market swoon and the decision by Britain's Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, to step down as "senior royals."
"It's been a cuckoo year, but 2020's clock is ticking," the wrote. "The countdown begins now, & when the clock strikes midnight, a new year will spread its wings."
A red bird emoji posted at the end of the tweet hints at what happens once the cuckoo clock's hands strike midnight.
Once users click on the clock, they are directed to the "New Year's Eve" search page and showered with virtual confetti. For another blast, partiers can click the animated confetti cone on the top right side of the screen.
The Google Doodle website explains that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had been playing with Google's logo in 1998. In 2000, they asked the current webmaster Dennis Hwang to produce a doodle for Bastille Day.
The doodle was well-received, and Hwang was appointed Google's chief doodler.
Since then, Hwang's team has created more than 4,000 doodles for homepages around the world.