Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Americans Spent 4,000,000 Hours Playing Google Pac-Man

The good news is that the gods of Google have seen fit to enshrine Friday's tribute to Pac-Man on its own site. Change your home page and you can spend the rest of your life clicking "Insert Coin" before you click "Search." The bad news is that the data nerds at RescueTime have already quantified exactly how guilty you should feel about all that Pac-Man. Tony Wright examined data from thousands of Web users and determined that the average person spent 36 seconds longer than usual on Google on Friday, the day the special logo launched. That means Google's millions of users spent 4,819,352 hours playing Pac-Man. Assuming that most of them were playing at work (which surely is a safe assumption), and they all were worth $25 an hour (which may not be a safe assumption), then $120,483,800 worth of work evaporated into the Googlesphere Friday. Wright says the "damage" would have been even worse if it had been more obvious that the logo was a fully-functioning game. "I'd wager that 75% of the people who saw the logo had no idea that you could actually play it," he says. "Which the world should be thankful for." Kottke's Aaron Cohen begs to differ. "Holy crap," he said Friday. "I think this is why they made the Internet."

Credits: Slate Magazine

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