The playable version of Pac-Man that Google inserted into its logo last week could have consumed a combined 5 million work hours worldwide.

I’m going to just quote myself regarding Google’s Pac-Man logo celebrating the lovable yellow puck’s 30th anniversary: “Guys, this thing is too awesome for words. Just be careful, or else you might spend all afternoon playing this damn thing.”

As it turns out, my statement was prophetic. According to the Beeb, data gathered by software firm Rescue Time suggests that Google’s Pac-Man doodle might have had unintended consequences. Rescue Time’s data tracks what workers do on the internet, and it says on average, people use Google approximately 22 times on a typical day, with each search lasting about 11 seconds.

Based on statistics gathered from 11,000 Rescue Time users, the presence of Pac-Man on the Google homepage added 36 seconds to this average. This is actually lower than it might have been otherwise, because many people didn’t realize that the doodle was playable – to play, they had to click on the “Insert Coin” button.

Even so, a seemingly minor increase of 36 seconds adds up when multiplied by the 504 million unique users who use Google every day. Factoring this massive userbase into the picture, Rescue Time extrapolates that Google’s Pac-Man devoured 4.8 million work hours – a combined 549 years’ worth of productivity. Assuming that workers are on average paid $25 (£17.50) an hour, the firm estimated that the little flash game cost the equivalent of $120m in lost productivity.

That’s as much money as it would take to hire every last employee at Google and put them to work for six weeks, says Rescue Time.

I warned you. I warned you all! By the way, have I mentioned that it’s now permanent?

(Thanks for the tip, leeloodallasmultipass!)

You may also like