Google's Pac-Man Front Sapped 4.8 Million Hours of Productivity

The nearly universal reaction to seeing Google’s playable 30th anniversary Pac-Man doodle was, “Well, there goes Friday.” Indeed. A productivity firm has calculated the time spent playing Google’s Pac-Man front at more than 4.8 million hours.

RescueTime, makers of productivity tracking and optimization software, looked at the average time that 11,000 of its users spent on Google’s pages on Friday and found it more than quadrupled. Normally they spend 11 seconds on a Google page, but on Friday they spent 45.

Google page visit time is very low, of course, because people find whatever they need very quickly and usually hit a link on the first page of results. To triple the time spent on a Google page means something else is going on, and in this case, it was chompin’ dots.

So what? Just 45 seconds, right? Well, Google also did more than 500 million pageviews on Friday. So RescueTime, assuming its user base was representative (and 11,000 is a damn good sample size), ran some numbers and came up with:

• 4,819,352 hours of time lost. This is above the 33.6 million man hours of attention Google gets on a regular day.

• More than $120 million in lost productivity, assuming the cost of the average Google user is $25 an hour (that’s pay plus benefits.)

• I like this quote the best: “For that same cost, you could hire all 19,835 google employees, from Larry and Sergey down to their janitors, and get 6 weeks of their time.”

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