Question: Why is there a barcode on Google's home page today?
Answer: Oohh, great mystery. Why, oh why?
Well, it's because on October 7, 1952, the main patent for the bar code was issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. It is on file as US Patent Number 2,612,994.
The application for the patent was filed a few years earlier on October 20, 1949, by Norman J. Woodland and Bernard Silver. The title of their application: "Classifying Apparatus and Method"
It was a description of linear and bullseye printing patterns, as well as of the mechanical and electronic systems needed to read the code.
So in order to commemorate the anniversary of the date on which the patent for a bar code was officially approved, ever reliable Google featured the black and white stripes on its front page!