Google Pac-Man trashes US economy

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Never, ever apply for a job at RescueTime. They're hard taskmasters.

You may have thought that the online version of Pac-Man that appeared on the Google search page on Friday was just a bit of harmless fun.

But not a bit of it, according to Tony Wright, CEO of RescueTime. It was a dreadful distraction  that cost the average user a whole 36 seconds - count them and weep - of productive time.

It could have been worse. "Thankfully, Google tossed out the logo with pretty low 'perceived affordance' – they put an 'insert coin' button next to the search button, but I imagine most users missed that," says Wright.

"In fact, I’d wager that 75 percent of the people who saw the logo had no idea that you could actually play it. Which the world should be thankful for."

Tapping his watch impatiently all the time, Wright hurled some figures from Bing and Wolfram Alpha at his downtrodden staff and ordered them to do a few sums. And they've worked out that the actual cost of all those people saying 'Oh, look, Pac-Man' is a stonking $120 million sliced from the US economy.

We trust that Sergey Brin is hanging his head in shame.

But there is a way for Google to make up for it. "For that same cost, you could hire all 19,835 Google employees, from Larry and Sergey down to their janitors, and get six weeks of their time," says Wright.

What should we get them to do? Answers on a postcard, please, but be quick about it.