Google makes Pac-man a permanent feature

May 25, 2010, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Google has announced that it will make the playable-on-browser version of Pac-man available permanently for fans of the game. The announcement was made following the huge response received from Google users after the company made the game available for free on the Google Search homepage as a tribute to the arcade game Pacman which completed 30 years on May 22.

The Google Pacman game can now be played any time at www.google.com/pacman/ . However, the official blog for RescueTime, an application that tracks software and website use by employees of businesses, reported a huge drop in productivity due to the Pacman game being available as a “Google Doodle”. According to their statistics, an additional 36 seconds were spent on an average by Google users on the homepage than normal and a total of 4,819,352 hours was taken up by the game. With RescueTime’s assumption that a Google user is paid at a rate $25 per hour, the productivity loss can be calculated at $120,483, 300. This amount is approximately equal to the total salary of all of Google’s 19,835 employees for a period of six weeks.

The Pac-man doodle had also scared many Firefox browser users on the first day that it featured on Google, as the sound for the game began to play automatically when the search page was opened, leading users to think that they had been infected by a virus. The number of questions and complaints posted by users on the Firefox support forum created by Mozilla was so high that the speed of the site was reduced considerably.

Google has now resolved the issue by disabling automatic game sounds for Pacman and adding an ‘Insert Coin” button which the user must click to start the game.

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