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Google The Almighty Buck Games

Google PAC-MAN Cost 4.8M Person-Hours 332

Posted by kdawson
from the stolen-moments dept.
The folks at Rescue-Time, who make software that helps you (and companies) figure out how you spend your online time, did a modest calculation based on their user base and concluded that Google's playable PAC-MAN doodle cost the world over 4.8 million person-hours of productivity last Friday. "Google PAC-MAN consumed 4,819,352 hours of time (beyond the 33.6M daily man hours of attention that Google Search gets in a given day). $120,483,800 is the dollar tally, if the average Google user has a cost of $25/hr. (note that cost is 1.3 – 2.0 X pay rate). 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." Also, Google made the doodle permanent.
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Google PAC-MAN Cost 4.8M Person-Hours

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  • by yttrstein (891553) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:22PM (#32330124) Homepage
    ...monetizing bad math and improperly understood statistics since 2006.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:23PM (#32330128)

    This is like all those bogus RIAA/MPAA/etc.-funded studies that assume a pirated copy is a lost sale. Much of the time spent on Google's PAC-MAN would otherwise have been spent on other internet time-wasting, not on productivity.

  • Probably true. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by exasperation (1378979) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:23PM (#32330130)
    But who cares? Sometimes you just have to stop being so serious and laugh a little.
  • by dmomo (256005) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:24PM (#32330142) Homepage

    Ban the use of Google at work.

    Because, I'm sure Google doesn't give back in terms of productivity.

    But really. This is hard to quantify. Half of my dev team was looking under the hood to see how it worked. Directly lost productivity? Maybe, but I think over-all it netted positive for the team. I would argue that this sort of thing is good for productivity.

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:24PM (#32330150) Homepage

    It was on a Friday, it's not like anything gets done on Fridays anyway.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:26PM (#32330164)
    Humans are not engines. You can't just give us caffeine and sugar and expect us to work all that time. We require mental stimulation or else our work suffers.

    What HR departments don't seem to understand is that we are not robots or programs. Put anyone and have them do a repetitive task, they will quickly get mental numbness and their productivity will suffer. Now take the person and give them some mental stimulation now and then and they won't make those errors.

    If you want something that will turn out the same quality of work 24/7, get a robot or program. Humans aren't like that. And saying that it "cost" $4.8 million just isn't understanding humanity.
  • Wasted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:28PM (#32330180)
    Time that isn't spent productively is not necessarily wasted.
  • Re:Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:35PM (#32330248)

    Not only that, "person-hours" is one of the stupidest phrases I've run across in a while.

    Look, there's nothing wrong with "man". It referred to "human" long before it referred to "male human". Just live with it: the word is man-hours!

  • by AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:36PM (#32330260)
    How much did people urinating cost?
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:40PM (#32330278)
    These numbers are tasty, but they also are misleading and jump to conclusions. They're assuming everyone who tried GoogleMan was at work? I wasn't ... I guess I'm the only person who uses Google for non-work purposes? They really aught to try to break into the "home users who use search engine" market, who knows, they may be able to significantly expand their user base.

    They're assuming 36 extra seconds per visit, too. If you "count to 11" like they suggest, counting to 47 will demonstrate that they're guestimating far too much time was spent on GoogleMan.
  • Re:In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ink (4325) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:41PM (#32330284) Homepage

    The free market can't exist without government regulations.

    You earned your +1 Indignant mod though. Congrats! :-)

  • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:43PM (#32330300)

    I suggest that Mr. Tony Wright learn a thing or two about significant digits. What a glorious heap of bull to take input like "if we assume our userbase is representative", "if we take Wolfram Alpha at its word","approximate cost of", "about 11,000" and then assert a figure like $298,803,988. 10 significant digits?!? Right.

  • I don't think so. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flammon (4726) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:43PM (#32330302) Homepage Journal
    If it wasn't Pac Man, they would have been playing around with something else. No extra time was lost.
  • Fortunately (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:43PM (#32330308)

    Life isn't all about productivity, or it would be boring as shit.

  • Re:Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:54PM (#32330380)

    What the hell was wrong with "x hours of productivity" which came long before "man-hour"?

    It fails simple dimensional analysis. N hours of operation of a facility employing M persons obviously is NM person-hours of work, not NM hours of work.

  • by PRMan (959735) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:55PM (#32330384)

    I was on vacation also, and all 4 family members tried it.

    How many kids played this?

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:18PM (#32330600)
    Why would they need to though? The point is, the internet allows people to get information they need instantly. If you are an engineer, you need to convert things on a daily basis so of course those things are committed to memory, just like a historian might know that the First Battle of St. Albans took place on 22 May 1455. Everyone else though, could just Google the date.

    All a human -really- needs to know is how to read/speak a popular language and critical thinking skills. The rest, in the 21st century will fall into place.
  • Re:Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by retchdog (1319261) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:22PM (#32330626) Journal

    Maybe it should fail simple dimensional analysis because, hey, smashing people and hours together doesn't always generate productivity, unlike how force and distance always generate work.

    It's more subtle, needs certain assumptions, and it's not at all clear what the scaling law should be. Kind of like how in some cases but not all, the effective distance travelled is proportional to the square root of time spent travelling.

  • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:24PM (#32330634)

    I would say the irrational thing is to draw a female fireman, whatever the reason.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:41PM (#32330738)

    Even worse, the HR departments are the biggest offenders at wasting time. Those people don't do anything productive all day. They just sit around talking to people, contracting for inane "training" courses about workplace harassment and other common-sense stuff, putting up roadblocks for hiring managers trying to find good employees, etc. Most companies would be better off if they eliminated HR departments altogether. W. Edwards Deming was a fan of this idea.

  • by junglebeast (1497399) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:54PM (#32330828)

    This game only costs person hours if that time would have been spent towards labor if the game didn't exist.

    People find distractions all throughout their daily lives, and it is silly to think that the existence of 1 more distraction is going to make a difference. Those people who felt like working kept working, and those people who were looking for a distraction found one, but they would have found one anyway.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:58PM (#32330854)

    ...is the additional 100 million hours of productivity lost from all of the imagination-less people posting, blogging, tweeting, and re-tweeting the same inane comment, "wow, Google's Pac-Man logo just ruined millions of dollars of productivity today."

  • by swb (14022) on Monday May 24, 2010 @09:08PM (#32330914)

    The RIAA/MPAA/SPA make the assumption that every pirated copy is a lost sale, and then complain loudly to government and in the media about their "lost revenue", even though they have no data (that they are willing to share...) that says those people with the pirated copies would have bought a legitimate copy if a pirated copy was not available.

    This is the same problem with the Pac Man "lost productivity" argument; it assumes the time spent playing Pac Man would have otherwise been spent productively. At least as insane a judgment as the piracy claimants, if not more so, since it's easily reasonable to assume that people who fuck around, fuck around regardless and that some people may have played Pac Man instead of some other form of fucking off like 20 minute cigarette breaks, long lunches, bullshitting around the coffee maker, etc.

    But it's a great publicity stunt on their part; there are a ton of companies out there with obsessive, micromanaging and dictatorial bosses who would love to hire them to help "find" all the unproductive employees and systems that they just know are costing them money.

  • by izomiac (815208) on Monday May 24, 2010 @09:24PM (#32331026) Homepage

    Never in the course of human history, outside of the industrial revolution, has a human being been expected to produce "something" for 8 straight hours a day, 5 days a week (and for some more than that).

    The human body just isn't built for it either. Hunter-gathers that were able to survive to the modern era (i.e. in infertile lands where agriculture isn't possible) only spent about 15 - 25 hours per week gathering food. That's what our ancestors did for probably 100,000 years, and a contributing factor to why life expectancy dropped with agriculture (~100 hours per week). Unsurprisingly, it turns out we're almost all deficient in Vitamin D (lack of sunlight), get sub-optimal sleep (ditto sunlight), and even if you go home and exercise like a maniac, sitting for 8 hours a day is still bad for your health. It wouldn't really surprise me if the average office worker's 40 hours per week is really only 20 hours of real work. (At least for the average worker, if you stress yourself out, do mindless work, or really love your job I could see doing more.)

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday May 24, 2010 @09:47PM (#32331166) Homepage Journal
    what about the efficiency gains due to decreased stress levels of employees ? something that affects everything ranging from reducing in-office quarrels to better communication ?

    that's not so easy to calculate is it.
  • by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Monday May 24, 2010 @10:32PM (#32331534) Journal

    Yes because people are just like machines, you turn on at 9:00am and work until 5:30pm with a break for fuel. Spending thirty seconds distracted from your labour wil cost the company a QUARTER OF A HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! and will in no way lower stress levels and contribute to a happier, more convivial and productive workforce, that's simply impossible.

  • Re:Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twostix (1277166) on Monday May 24, 2010 @11:46PM (#32331960)

    You fall into the tired old trap of the left in thinking that children are mindless automatons that will do whatever adults program them to do.

    I have three robust defiant boys with opposing personalities and beliefs that proves you wrong. If you tell my youngest to draw a fireman/firefigher he'll just as likely draw a car with a clown driving it (who incidentally will more than likely also be a man, perhaps you could give us the gender neutral term for clown..or your argument is a bit of BS).

    Children aren't computers to be manipulated to your own creepy ends of making them not see reality- that firemen are 90% men - into what you want them to see - that you wish fire fighters were equal parts men and women (not reality). Something that is of course never going to happen as there's simply not an equal number of physically strong females on planet (oops there's that reality thing again).

    So what if they draw a firefighter as a man...90% of firefighters in the world ARE MEN and no, it's not because of the tired old "oppression/inequality" drek trotted out day in day out by academia, it's simply because of boring old physics: women don't have as much muscle as men.

    No amount of manipulation of the language and childrens minds is ever going to change that. Also there was a time where if your political beliefs required messing with kids heads your beliefs were seen as evil.

    Cheers
    Twostix

  • Re:Competition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Monday May 24, 2010 @11:57PM (#32332028) Homepage
    No one is requiring anyone's political beliefs to mess with kids' minds. You are utterly missing the point and seem to be claiming that psychological studies are somehow evil if they use clever ways to see how children are primed by words. The point of this sort of study is that it shows that language use can have subtle impacts on how people think. In those studies, even when you change the wording, pictures of males are still much more likely to be drawn than females. The point that I am making, is that language use can impact how people think, even in subtle ways, so it makes sense to try to use language that distorts that as little as possible.
  • Re:In other words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by twostix (1277166) on Monday May 24, 2010 @11:57PM (#32332030)

    Insane the mindless sound bites that go for +5 around here these days.

    The "free market" is just two people exchanging one thing for another thing so of course it can exist outside of government regulation. Unless you're going to try and say it requires laws to compel people to trade. In which case I cite the last 20,000 years of human history.

    The problem with the free market is that it's just that it's too rough and ready so some government regulation can smooth it out (or completely ruin it, or be used to kill competition or new entries as is often the case).

    I think you mean government *protection* which is of course what governments were created for in the first place, not to *make* a free market as you confusingly infer, but to protect the people in it.

  • by TouchAndGo (1799300) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:08AM (#32332078)
    Your own wikipedia link indicates that using it as a synonym for raising the question is increasingly common, and that there's debate over whether the usage should be considered correct or not.
  • Re:In other words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ink (4325) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @12:39AM (#32332240) Homepage

    So, your hypothetical (utopian?) free market can't exist without the regulatory _protection_ of a government? Talk about mindless sound bites... Let me know when you found your perfect country where anarchy rules, and everyone sings in harmony with their side-arms at the ready.

  • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:21AM (#32335034) Journal

    So, some people* essentially made up a load of numbers to generate a catchy headline, throwing in some "back of the envelope" calculations to make it look real. That's never happened before...

    But, oh look, it worked. Even the BBC [bbc.co.uk] bought the story and they generally try to be factually accurate. So, before long it will probably be included as an amusing anecdote in every story about loss-of-productivity-at-work, or the dangers-of-being-on-the-Internet and that sort of rubbish.

    It is amazing how far one made-up number can go. How long before some company sues Google for loss of productivity? That could be fun to watch.

    *not just anyone, people from a company that specialises in "Time Management, Productivity & Project Tracking software"... but no, they can't have any ulterior motive in exaggerating the "time lost" due to a website...

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