Google's PacMan Game Cost the World $120 Million

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On Friday, Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pac-man by embedding a playable Pac-man video game into the Google name on its homepage. I played it. It was fun! Little did I know I was contributing to an epic global heist.

The site RescueTime concluded that the average Google user spent 36 seconds more on Google.com on Friday than most days. Multiplied by the 500 million unique visitors on May 23 (Wolfram Alpha estimates), and you get 4,819,352 hours of time consumed by the embedded Pac-man game. RescueTime goes on:

  • 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 6 weeks of their time. Imagine what you could build with that army of man power.
  • $298,803,988 is the dollar tally if all of the Pac-Man players had an approximate cost of the average Google employee.

Waste more time here.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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