Google distracting workers for a day

Google's playable Pac Man logo

On Friday, Google decided to pay tribute to the 30th anniversary of the video game Pac Man by changing the look of their logo on their home page. They’ve done this hundreds of times in the past so that part of it is nothing special. The difference is that this time they made the logo interactive. It was the first time they made a playable logo. They changed the Feeling Lucky button on the home page to read Insert Coin. When you press that button, you can actually play Pac Man right on the logo.

At first, I thought maybe there is some commercial reason for this like an advertisement of some sort. However, when the game ends you are automatically taken to a page with search results as if you typed Pac Man 30th anniversary in the search bar. There are no sponsored links on this page and nothing jumps out as trying to sell anything. It is just a simple gesture to the game.

The one thing they more than likely did create as a byproduct though, are thousands of less productive workers across North America (not sure if this showed up in other parts of the world). Many, if not most people use Google for work every day. When the game is sitting there in front of you, it is very easy to just start playing. This probably happened thousands of times on Friday and most of it probably happened on their employers’ time. Since it was only a one day event, the impact will not be noticeable in terms of statistics, but if they decided to do this every work day for a month, the impact would likely be visible in the productivity figures of the country.

They would probably have to use a different game every couple of days to keep people interested but, this shows how powerful Google is in the world today and the impact it can have with small changes. There is no word on whether Google plans to do this kind of logo change again in the future, but if they do it more frequently I would not be surprised to hear companies complaining to them and request that they stop doing it due to the impact it is having on the productivity of their employees.

Google can also use this idea for raising money for charities, like the Haiti fund or some other important fund. They can make the logo be a piggy bank with the charity’s logo on it (obviously writing Google in it in some creative way) and have the Feeling Lucky button be a portal to a page that one can donate money through. This would likely raise a lot of money and be more meaningful than a Pac Man tribute. It would also not frustrate any employers because it wouldn’t take up as much time and it’s for a good cause.